Nine crib deaths reported in Malda hospital

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Malda: As many as nine infants have died in the government-run Malda Medical College and Hospital in West Bengal.

Hospital superintendent and vice-principal of medical college, M. A. Rashid, confirmed that nine infants, who were admitted in critical condition, have died in the past 48 hours.

The hospital in Malda district has been witnessing crib deaths since the beginning of this year.

Reportedly, all the children brought to the hospital were underweight.

Rashid said that the health condition of the infants deteriorated while they were on their way to the hospital from neighbouring eastern states like Bihar and Jharkhand.

"Nine infants have died in 48 hours. It is bad luck for the infants who are coming all the way from Bihar, Jharkhand and other nearby areas as their condition is deteriorating on the way. We have modern infrastructure and in the past two years the state government has done a lot to improve the condition of hospital. We have all the modern equipments and doctors," said Rashid.

According to United Nations data, 32 babies die in India for every 1,000 live births.

India will need to increase public health spending to the global average of five percent of GDP from one percent by 2015, and double allocations to child health, nutrition, water and sanitation and food security schemes to cut infant mortality.

Malnutrition is the leading cause of death among children less than five years old, with nearly one-third of all malnourished children in India.

Reducing infant mortality in the developing world is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals - but progress has been slow.