Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed

Monday, May 06, 2013

BENGAL HOSPITALS, AN 'UNHEALTHY HORROR DENS'

By CJ Richa Rai in Kolkata

The conditions of hospitals in West Bengal is very disappointing, specially in Kolkata, the conditions of government hospitals as well as the private hospitals are worsening day by day. For a progressive country, good medical treatment becomes highly important. An average 40,000 infants die every year in West Bengal. Many people died due to the negligence of medical treatment.
In just 48 hours, 15 babies have died in a government hospital in Malda, West Bengal. The government quibbles that it is 11 deaths in two days, not 15, a number no less shocking.

Four of the babies died in a span of eight hours last night. Health authorities claim each of these infants were brought to the hospital, the Malda Medical College Hopsital, in very serious condition and insist there has been no negligence. Last November, 26 infants had died at the same hospital over a period of six days; an average 40,000 infants die every year in West Bengal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has vowed today to bring that rate down by 25 per cent. 

But when the health department sent a task force to the Malda hospital recently to investigate infant deaths, members of the team said no senior staff was present to answer queries. They were reportedly informed that the superintendent and vice principal of the college were in Kolkata and the principal was in Hyderabad for some official work. The task force reported that the hospital needs more doctors, nurses and infrastructure. "The hospital needs more doctors, nurses and group D staff. There is a lot of pressure at this hospital. The Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) needs to be expanded. Negligence, if found, will be punished," said Tridib Bhattacharya, a member of the task force.

Voices such as  Bhattacharya's are likely to be drowned by shrill political squabbles. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee holds the health portfolio too and has just appointed a minister of state, but she continues to blame all health sector woes on the Left government that ruled for 30 years before she came to power last year. "In Bengal, 40,000 infants died every year, coade. When 40,000- 46 000 died in your time, you couldn't see? Suddenly you are waking up to infant deaths?" said Mamata Banerjee at rally of her Trinamool Congress party today.  "Infant mortality needs to be looked at very seriously...There has been canard when we are trying to improve the health infrastructure, which has been left in shambles by the previous government",  she said.

Opposition leader Surya Kant Mishra countered, "All the SNCUs and ICUs for neonates were put in place during the rule of the Left."

The Malda infant deaths bring into sharp focus the disarray that healthcare is in in West Bengal. The traumatic birth of a little girl in Burdwan today is telling. The young mother Parvati, delivered at a roadside tea stall because when she went with labour pains to a Burdwan government hospital, doctors there told her to come back in a month. On the bus ride back home, Parvati went into full labour and a local doctor helped her deliver her baby at the tea stall. 
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