Mumbai: In what seems to be an alarming trend, 55 children died at Nashik's Civil Hospital in August. 35 children died at the same hospital in June and 46 in July. Since April this year, 187 infants have died in the hospital raising concerns over government healthcare facilities at one of the Maharashtra's major industrial cities.
As parallels began to be drawn with the death of children in Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur last month, Maharashtra's Health Minister, Dr Deepak Sawant told reporters, "There is no need to connect this with what happened in Uttar Pradesh where there was an outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis, which is not the case here. If 50,000 children fully recover at the hospital and leave healthy every year then how can you say that the proper facilities are not provided here?"
The hospital authorities say it has only 18 incubators but requires many more as lots of cases are referred to the hospital, especially critical ones.
"There is no shortage of medicine in our hospital, but the figure which was shown mainly comes from cases that are referred to us from the private sector. They want to reduce their casualty figures so they refer severe cases to us," Dr MG Hole, Additional Civil Surgeon at the hospital told NDTV.
The problem according to doctors is the shortage of facilities at the hospital. The shortage of incubators often leads to delays that result in casualty in cases that are brought in from other places at the last minute.
"There is a requirement of 18 incubators there, there are doctors there and everything else has been provided but underweight children whom we also call LBW and premature babies who have very low immunity result in casualties," the Health Minister added.
The department would look at expanding facilities at the hospital and will hold meetings in this regard soon, the minister promised.