Gorakhpur: Sixteen children including ten infants died in last 24 hours in Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. The authorities said the infants were admitted in the neonatal and intensive care units of the hospital, reported Hindustan Times.
The authorities emphasised the patients were afflicted from the encephalitis. They added six from Deoria, two from Kushinagar, four each from Gorakhpur and Maharajganj, and one patient each from Basti and Balrampur were admitted to the hospital in the last 24 hours. The doctors at the college said the patients were admitted to the hospital in a critical condition.
The death toll in BRD Medical College, since August, has crossed over 400 mark.
On August 10 and 11, at least 30 kids died due to lack of oxygen. An inquiry report had blamed the absence of doctors and the supplier for oxygen shortage at Baba Raghav Das (BRD) hospital.
Manish Bhandari, the owner of Pushpa Sales Pvt Ltd, which had snapped oxygen supply from BRD over unpaid bills resulting, was arrested by the Gorakhpur police on September 17. Following the tragedy, Adityanath also removed Additional Chief Secretary (Medical Health) Anita Bhatnagar Jain after a high-powered committee found the senior woman IAS officer guilty of delay in non-payment to the oxygen vendor, who allegedly disrupted supplies, causing problems at the ICU and the paediatrics ward at the hospital.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who received severe criticism from all quarters for the incident, said the region has been battling encephalitis from the 1970s.
A total of 9 people including the principal of the college have been named in the FIR filed in connection with the case.
According to the data of the first 30 deaths that occurred on 10 and 11 August, only five were due to acute encephalitis syndrome or AES; one was due to hepatic encephalopathy, which is related to AES. The other deaths were of terminally ill newborns.Among the 13 children who died on 12 August only one was due to AES.
According to reports in 2017 (till July), the total number of admissions to the pediatrics department was 3,878, of which 596 patients died. The figures for the neonatal intensive care unit (newborns) raised even more concerning as of the total 2,386 admissions, 931 died.
“Newborn babies don’t suffer from AES. The list of deceased clearly shows that only five children died of AES and one due to hepatic encephalopathy. As per the list, all other babies were newborns who were apparently in need of expert emergency care services. Such cases are very critical and need continuous supply of ventilation,” said Dinesh Kapil, senior consultant, pediatrics, at Red Cross Hospital, New Delhi. Kapil was formerly at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Uttar Pradesh has the worst infant mortality rate in the country of 78 (per 1,000 live births) according to the National Family Health Survey- IV (2015-16). The national average is 41.
“So many patients cannot die of encephalitis in two days. In fact, when ICMR came up with a report under National Japanese Encephalitis Control Programme in Uttar Pradesh, especially in Gorakhpur, only 5 to 10% of cases were of Japanese Encephalitis. With high death rate of infants, it is apparent that intensive care units are poorly managed and they don’t have trained staff,” said Soumya Swaminathan, secretary, department of health research, Union health ministry, and director general at ICMR.
“The healthcare status of women and children in Uttar Pradesh is cause for utmost worry—a newborn in Uttar Pradesh is expected to live four years fewer than in the neighbouring state of Bihar, five years fewer than in Haryana and seven years fewer than in Himachal Pradesh,” was stated in a report by Tata Trusts and Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme, funded by the UK government’s department for international development (DFID),
With PTI inputs