940 deaths in 12 months. Do infant lives matter?

There can be no justification for what happened in the JK Lon Hospital in Kota, Rajasthan over the past year where 940 infants lost their lives over the past year. It is a clear case of medical negligence that needs to be dealt with and the people at fault need to be prosecuted without any exceptions.

Such an outrageously high number of infant deaths is not an aberration. This hospital has been a repeat offender as similar number of deaths have been reported over the past few years. Mere words of assurance from those in the government or setting up of committees will not work anymore and we can’t allow anyone to play with the lives of our children.

Medical negligence at its worst

Reports suggest that the cause of such high figures of infant deaths in this particular hospital include the presence of faulty equipment like ventilators, warmers and nebulizers, lack of oxygen lines and cylinders and lack of coordination within the senior hospital staff. Reports also point out a high presence of fungal and bacterial infection in the hospital which is a prime cause of infant mortality.

All these reasons point out to a total lack of concern of both tbe politicians and bureaucracy in the state towards the patients who come to government hospitals for their treatment.

Even a general understanding of healthcare will tell you that infants are much more susceptible to the risk of fungal and bacterial infections than children or adults and the presence of these viruses can prove to be fatal for them.

Thus common sense would dictate that they need to be placed under intensive care at all times and it needs to be ensured that any wing of the hospital where the infants are kept and treated must be hygienic enough so that the patients don’t catch any sort of infections. But I guess it would be foolhardy to expect hygiene from hospitals in our country, especially those operated by the central or state governments.

Neither Congress nor the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can escape the responsibility here because BJP was in power for the past 15 years in the state and the Congress came to power in December 2018. So both of them knew about what was going on and it would be fair to assume that they were not proactive enough on this issue.

Is India safe for its infants?

This is not something that is restricted to Rajasthan alone. There have been cases of an inexcusably high number of infant deaths in hospitals in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh or Muzaffarpur, Bihar. These deaths were not due to natural calamities or some incurable epidemic but were a result of lack of doctors and hospital beds, lack of proper medicines or equipment, prevalence of high amounts of fungus and bacteria which puts the lives of infants in an even greater danger and a general apathy from those in the government who don’t give a flying flamingo about what goes on in their state and are only worried about their stupid posts which they do not deserve at all.

I want to cite reports from United Nations and other agencies from around the world which look into healthcare and infant mortality but I am sure that the figures are going to be extremely depressing because all our politicians do is to pay lip service to healthcare while simultaneously reducing Medicare budgets and whenever an incident as severe as the ones in Kota, Gorakhpur or Muzaffarpur come to light they blame each other in front of the public while waiting for some other event to make headlines. And once the spotlight shifts away from the said incident, they go back to business as usual.

Relentless public pressure is the only way forward

I know that our judiciary, government and legislature is supposed to take care of our medical well being but all of them have either failed or are heavily compromised. So it would be foolish to expect them to act on their own.

Only public pressure can force them to act and that is exactly what we need to do. We need to constantly ask them questions and not settle till they start giving us proper answers while ensuring that the people responsible for such grave negligence are taken to task and that the medical facilities at government hospitals are constantly upgraded without exceptions.

Image Source : Google Images

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