News Brief

Rajasthan Government Gives ‘Clean Chit’ To Hospital Where Over 900 Children Have Died, 50 Per Cent Equipment Are Defunct

Sachin Pilot (L), Rahul Gandhi (C) and Ashok Gehlot (R) attending an election rally in Jaipur.

The death toll in Kota's JK Lon hospital has risen to 100 as nine more children died between 30 December and 31 December. Over 900 children have died in the hospital over the last year.

While the rising number of deaths in the hospital has made the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corner Ashok Gehlot government, the Chief Minister, according to a report in India Today, has given the doctors at the hospital a "clean chit" as no negligence on their part has been found.

In the same report, Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma can be heard asking the media to send teams to BJP-ruled states in order to know the infant mortality rate in those states. "Yahan kya natak kar rahe ho Rajasthan mein aake (why are you staging a show in Rajasthan?)," he asks them.

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In December, a report in the Times of India said that “over 50 per cent of the gadgets” in the Kota hospital, are defunct.

The report says that 13 out of 19 ventilators are not working, 81 out of 111 infusion pumps are out of order, 44 out of 71 warmers do not work, and 22 out of 28 nebulisers don’t function. Only six of the 38 oxymeters that the hospital has are working, and equipment required for x-ray is also not in working condition.

According to a report submitted to the principal of Government Medical College, Kota, out of 533 equipment, 320 were found to be not working.

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The hospital is also short of staff. A Times of India report says that the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the hospital, which should have a staff strength of 32 as per the norms of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has only 20 employees.

A report in NDTV says that National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) "had served a show cause notice to the state government." It quotes chairperson Priyank Kanoongo saying: "pigs were found roaming inside the campus of the hospital."

The report adds that hospital authorities said that in 2019, the number of deaths reported here has witnessed a decline since 2014 when 1,198 children had died here.

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According to NDTV, a Rajasthan government committee "ruled that the infants were given the right treatment."

The alarming number of deaths has resulted in a war of words between the Congress and the BJP. Congress has blamed the BJP for not doing enough during its regime for developing infrastructure.

PTI tweeted that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that it was extremely sad that Sonia (Gandhi) and Priyanka Gandhi cannot feel the sorrow of mothers despite being women.

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BJP MP in Rajya Sabha, Kanta Kardam, mentioned that people she spoke to on the matter blame the hospital staff for negligence and callous attitude. She also mentioned overcrowding of beds. The members of the panel have said that two to three, and somewhere four children were found on single beds.

BJP MP Locket Chatterjee who was part of the committee formed by BJP working president J P Nadda comprising four BJP MPs mentioned the callous attitude of the hospital staff in approaching the patients.

According to PTI on Twitter, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati attacked Priyanka Gandhi, saying: "if Priyanka Gandhi Vadra doesn't meet mothers of children who died at Kota hospital in Rajasthan, then her meetings with aggrieved families in UP will be seen as theatrics & political self-interest."

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