Green Carpet Welcome For Ministers At Kota Hospital Even As Death Toll Rises To 104
After reaching the death toll of 100 since the start of December, Kota’s JK Lon Hospital once again triggered a controversy on Friday, January 3, after carpets were laid out to welcome ministers visiting the hospital. The move came at a time when two more infants have died at the hospital, taking the death toll to 104.
However, after strong criticism from opposition BJP and others, the hospital administration removed the carpet shortly before Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma’s arrival.
The deaths have sparked a political battle, with Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati demanding the resignation of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. She accused Gehlot of irresponsible and unsympathetic remarks. “This is highly shameful,” Mayawati said in a tweet.
The Chief Minister, however, denied any negligence on part of the hospital and said: “1000 children have died under BJP’s rule, while 100 have died under Congress rule. There should be no politics in it. The media is creating an issue out of it.”
स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं में और सुधार के लिए भारत सरकार के विशेषज्ञ दल का भी स्वागत है। हम उनसे विचार विमर्श और सहयोग से प्रदेश में चिकित्सा सेवाओं में इम्प्रूवमेंट के लिये तैयार हैं। #NirogiRajasthan हमारी प्राथमिकता है।
मीडिया किसी भी दबाव में आये बिना तथ्य प्रस्तुत करे, स्वागत है।
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) January 2, 2020
On Thursday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan claimed that the number of deaths was definitely higher this time compared to the last few years. He also extended his support to combat the health crisis in the state.
He said that a multi-disciplinary expert team of paediatricians was being sent by the health ministry for “gap analysis and quick measures to be taken.”
As the death toll increases, Congress president Sonia Gandhi also sought an explanation from the party’s state president Avinash Pandey.
“Infant mortality in this hospital of Kota is steadily decreasing. We will try to reduce it further. The health of mothers and children is our top priority,” Gehlot tweeted.
“We are ready for the improvement of medical services in the state with their consultation and cooperation,” Gehlot said.
This came two days after the state government committee had cleared the hospital of any lapses in the death of children, claiming that the patients were given the right treatment.
The hospital administration had appointed a three-member committee, headed by Paediatrics Department’s Chief Amrit Lal Bairwa, to investigate the cause of the deaths and the hospital conditions.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Monday, however, had found serious lapses at the hospital where they found broken windows and gates, pigs roaming inside the campus and acute shortage of staff.
“The state government panel found that the hospital did not have enough beds and was functioning at 150 per cent of its capacity,” Rajasthan Medical Education Secretary Vaibhav Galriya told the media on December 31.
Inadequate supply of oxygen to the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, infection-prone wards with no regular fumigation and shoddy maintenance of vital medical equipment were found. According to a Dainik Bhaskar report, 14 of the 20 ventilators were found defective.
Hospital authorities, however, claimed that the number of deaths reported in 2019 has witnessed a decline since 2014 when 1,198 children died. In 2019, 963 infants died at the hospital, while 1005 died in 2018.