Behrampore/Kolkata: Another hospital on Saturday joined the list of health facilities where infants are dying in West Bengal amidst claims by the state`s health
minister that the child mortality rate witnessed a three per
cent drop since the Mamata Banerjee-led government took over
eight months ago.
Nine babies died since last night in the state-run
Behrampore Hospital in Murshidabad district, the district`s
chief medical officer (health), Shazahan Siraj, said.
Most of the cases were referred from rural health
clinics with complaints ranging from acute respiratory
distress and malnutrition to being underweight. All nine
babies aged between two days to three months.
Siraj admitted that the paediatric unit of the
hospital lacked the requisite infrastructure with only 20 beds
against the average daily admission rate of 120 babies.
In the Malda Sadar Hospital, as many as 110 infants
died between January 1 and January 27, the hospital`s
vice-principal, MA Rashid, told reporters today.
Of the 110 deceased, 87 babies were below one year.
He, however, gave a ray of hope, saying the state
health department has decided to open a 70-bed separate
paediatric unit in the Malda Sadar Hospital within a month to
cope with the situation.
The state`s minister of state for health, Chandrima
Bhattacharya, told reporters quoting Union Health Ministry
data that the state witnessed a three per cent drop in the
child mortality rate.
"There has been a three per cent drop in the child
mortality rate in the last eight months in the state when the
new government took over," she said adding West Bengal now
ranked 15th in child mortality rate all over the country.