Kolkata: Crib deaths are back to haunt West Bengal with more than two dozen infants dying in two different government-run hospitals in the state in the past few days.
While Malda Medical College Hospital (MMCH) in Malda district has witnessed 11 crib deaths since Wednesday, the Bankura Sammilani Medical College (BSMC) in Bankura district has seen 17 such deaths in the last four days.
“In the last 24 hours, seven babies, all below one year of age, have died in the hospital taking the toll to 11 since Wednesday night,” said MMCH superintendent Abdur Rashid.
The 11 crib deaths include a triplet born grossly underweight Wednesday night.
BSMC superintendent Panchanan Kundu confirmed the 17 baby deaths in his hospital.
Both Rashid and Kundu have claimed that the infants were "grossly underweight" and were brought to the hospitals in critical condition.
Kundu also denied allegations that a large section of the hospital staff was on leave during the Durga puja which resulted in the deaths.
Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury, who visited MMCH, blamed the Mamata Banerjee government for not properly utilising the funds given by the central government under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
"It is a sad fact that the state has failed to utilise funds under the NRHM. Had the NRHM been properly implemented in the state, these deaths would not have happened," he said.
The MMCH has been in the news for infants deaths accounting for over 200 crib deaths last year.