Infant deaths at IGICH on the rise: BJP panel

The BJP fact-finding committee on Friday revealed that the number of infant deaths at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH) is on the rise.

“The hospital has witnessed 461 infant deaths in the last nine months,”  the committee chairman, MLA S Suresh Kumar said.

The BJP has constituted a fact-finding committee to ascertain claims of the Health department that around 26,000 infants die every year across the state in hospitals. The committee has already visited hospitals in Kolar, Kalaburagi, Davangere and Yadgir.

Around 1,300 infants are admitted to IGICH every month on an average, of which around 50 infants die. In August alone, 93 infants have died, said Asha Benakappa, director, IGICH.

Regarding increasing infant deaths she said: “Infants from government hospitals are shifted here in addition to those from North Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Even corporate hospitals shift ailing infants. Infants are shifted only after their condition has completely deteriorated. Pneumonia and dengue have also claimed many lives. Normally, admission is more after July so also are deaths.”

Between July and September, around 892 infants suffering from dengue were admitted, of whom 80 died, she added. Besides the increasing admission pressure, IGICH has its own internal issues.

The hospital provides ventilators to infants below one year of age. There are 20 ventilators, while around 50 infants are admitted to the hospital every day. The hospital is short-staffed. The hospital ideally needs 540 staffers but has several vacancies. There are two 60-bed ICUs with 20 staffers.

Kumar stated: “The government should increase the number of ventilators, ICUs and fill up vacancies. As there are more dengue cases this year, the government should take preventive measures on a war footing.”

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