India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has rushed a team of paediatricians and other medical experts to a western Indian town where more than 100 children have reportedly died in a government-run hospital in the past month.
India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan on Friday said the experts will analyse clinical protocols, service delivery, manpower availability and equipment for maternal, newborn and pediatric care services at the Kota Medical College hospital in Rajasthan state.
The state government said there was no negligence on the part of doctors as most of the children who died were referral cases reaching the hospital in the town of Kota from distant villages, including newly born children suffering from low birth weight, premature deliveries and nascent infections.
State Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said in a tweet that the state health department was providing the best facilities in the hospital, which is nearly 400 kilometres (249 miles) southwest of New Delhi.
Rajasthan: Repair work underway at Kota's J K Lon Hospital where more than 100 children died in the last one month. State Health Minister Raghu Sharma and officials from the Centre will visit the hospital, later today. pic.twitter.com/YMVlw7xULk
— ANI (@ANI) January 3, 2020
The Press Trust of India news agency cited some health ministry officials as saying that more than 70 percent of key equipment like infusion pumps, warmers and nebulisers for newborns were not in working condition at the hospital.
There was also a shortage of doctors and supporting staff in the paediatrics department.
High death rates among children in some of India’s poorest regions have revealed cracks in the country’s healthcare system.
Poor parents in remote villages travel 100km (62 miles) or more to reach a well-equipped government hospital, with a large number of sick children dying on the way.