Infant deaths: Gujarat depuy CM Nitin Patel says Congress criticism a face saving bid
Gandhinagar, Jan 07: The Gujarat government on Tuesday accused the opposition Congress of raising the issue of deaths of infants in state-run hospitals in order to "shield" its government in Rajasthan from criticism over similar deaths in Kota hospital.
While 111 infants had died at the government civil hospital in Gujarat's Rajkot district in December last year, 85 infants died in the civil hospital in Ahmedabad during the same period. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel told reporters that the initiatives taken by the BJP government in Gujarat has brought down the infant mortality incidence.
Patel said state-hospitals in Gujarat are well-equipped and most equipment are functional unlike in the Kota hospital, which he claimed is facing shortage of apparatus while most of them are outdated.
The Congress on Monday said the "large-scale" death of infants in public hospitals in Gujarat exposed "failure" of the ruling BJP in managing healthcare, and asked the government to ensure funds earmarked for medical services are spent properly and not wasted on celebrations.
"Congress leaders are making political statements over the death of infants in hospitals. We are working on the issue with utmost sensitivity and have succeeded in reducing infant deaths to below 25 per 1000 live births by 2019, compared to 30 per 1000 births in 2017," the deputy chief minister said.
Deaths of over 100 infants at the state-run hospital in Kota have shocked the country. "The Congress party is raising the issue of the deaths of infants in Gujarat hospitals in order to save the face of its government in Rajasthan, but it should understand that hospitals here are much better equipped than Kota (hospital, where more than 100 infants died in December), where most of the required equipment are either not available or not working," Patel said.
He was reacting to the Monday visit by some Congress leaders to the civil hospital in Rajkot. Patel claimed that initiatives launched by his government over the last two years have yielded results.