Gorakhpur: The recent tragedy of more than 85 children and newborns who died in Gorakhpur has, not for the first time, put the spotlight starkly on the country’s ailing public health system. Deaths of children, mostly newborn, continued at the infamous BRD Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur town of Uttar Pradesh (UP). Nearly 120 fatalities were recorded in the last 10 days.
The lack of all things important to human settlements—sanitation, disease surveillance, primary healthcare, tertiary hospitals, resources, life-saving equipment, political will and public health response—was so dramatic. According to hospital records, 14 babies died within a span of 24 hours on Thursday and Friday. Notwithstanding the nationwide outrage over the death of 30 kids owing to alleged shortage of oxygen and the assurances from the government to improve conditions at the hospital, the fresh deaths have occurred.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath virtually blamed the doctors for the deaths from Encephalitis, saying there was lack of sincerity in their efforts to find a cure. As many as 300 kids died at the BRD hospital in the month of August. The toll included the 30 kids who died owing to shortage of oxygen.
The UP government had then promised to improve the situation by augmenting facilities not only at BRD Medical College Hospital but also at other hospitals across the state.
In the same month, 49 kids, many of them newborn, died at the district hospital at Farrukhabad, again due to shortage of oxygen and medicines.
In both the cases, the state government rejected the probe report of the district magistrates of Farrukhabad and Gorakhpur and gave a clean chit to the hospital administration. So far eight people, including the principal of BRD medical college, have been arrested.