Breaking the silence on infant deaths in Rajkot, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Health Nitin Patel on Sunday said that the government is concerned over the issue. Patel also mentioned that the authorities of the hospitals have been informed and the state government will maintain transparency while investigating the issue.
Addressing the media Patel said, "Since a few days, news of deaths of newborns are making rounds in the channels and papers. What is happening in Rajasthan is being discussed everywhere. The state government is implementing many health schemes through government hospitals and still, if such news is coming then it is worrisome. Being a Sunday, concerned authorities were informed about this. Female mortality and infant mortality are issues of concern. The Indian government is helping and guiding states to control the female mortality rate."
"Madhya Pradesh, Assam, UP, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Telangana, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi are states having reports of child mortality rates from top to bottom. State government is giving Rs 49,000 in such cases where newborns have some deficiency and other issues," he added.
Further speaking about the issue Patel said, "Transparency in the system will be ensured. I had to go to three programmes but I have cancelled those and am discussing the issue. We are not running away from truth neither we will walk on wrong paths like other states. 12 lakh new kids born in Gujarat every year. 99% of deliveries done in hospitals. Many deliveries happen inside the ambulance because they don't reach the hospital on time. In Oct 2019, 815 deliveries happened in Rajkot. 238 kids were identified who needed special care so they were shifted accordingly. 87 kids died out of the total figure. Which is 19.3% per cent. In November, 846 deliveries took places. Total 71 kids died in that time."
Days after the Kota row on infant deaths, government hospital in Rajkot has recorded as many as 269 infant deaths in the last three months of 2019. According to the hospital head Manish Mehta, 87 and 71 children died at Rajkot Civil Hospital in October and November respectively and 111 in December, the highest number of deaths being recorded in December. "We do not have ample facilities to treat the number of patients we receive. Keeping this in mind, the government has started the construction of a new hospital with 500 beds," said Mehta.
The children who died in a civil hospital in Rajkot are also said to be newborns like the ones in Kota. Reports claim that the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) does not have the capacity and the required facilities to treat children weighing less than 2.5 kg. Also, the cause of death of children is being said to be malnutrition, diseases from birth, premature birth and mother's malnourishment. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has denied answering reporters' questions on the deaths of infants in the government hospital and simply walked away.