Mamata dubs baby deaths in WB as `rumour`

Last Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 00:52

Sajnekhali: Blaming a section of the
media for joining the opposition chorus over death of babies
in state-run hospitals, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday dubbed it as `rumour` since the child mortality
rate has dropped in the state.

"It is a rumour intended to mislead the people. It is
not a fact that children are dying in state-run hospitals due
to negligence," Banerjee told reporters here during a visit to
the Sunderbans.

Blaming a section of the media for spreading rumours
she said, "They may be supporters of the AMRI hospital
authorities where 94 patients died due to suffocation during
the December 9 fire."

Stating that 50,000 babies die each year in the state
because they were born at home, Banerjee said, "It is not due
to hospital treatment that they are dying. They don`t come to
hospital. When they come, they are gasping. There is no scope
of treating them."

Since last May when the new government took over, the
child mortality rate in the state dropped from 31 per cent to
30 per cent, Banerjee said.

Citing figures she said, "This is lower than 46 per
cent in Rajasthan, 47 per cent in MP and 57 per cent in
Gujarat. The child mortality rate is 30 per cent in Delhi.

"We have been able to reduce the child mortality rate
by one per cent. I believe that if we can continue like this,
we can decrease it by five to ten per cent within a year," she
said.

Attributing the death of babies to under-nourishment,
malnutrition and birth at home, the chief minister said,
sometimes mothers as young as 12 or 13 years of age gave
birth. "This is a social problem for which we will have to
launch an awareness programme."

Lashing out at the previous Left front government for
neglecting the health sector, she said "they did not disclose
facts which led to death of babies."

Banerjee regretted that ally Congress was also
politicking over the issue.

The chief minister said that her government had set up
six new children units in state-run hospitals in the last
eight months and would construct another 40 next year.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 16:35

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