522 infants died in last 3 months in Gujarat

State heath minister Nitin Patel has termed the situation 'not alarming'

Representative image. (Photo credit:  stock.adobe.com)

Amidst the report of the death of over 100 infants in Kota hospital in Rajasthan, 522 infants are reported to have died in two major civil hospitals in Ahmedabad and Rajkot in the past three months. In the month of December alone, 88 infants died out of 804 delivery recorded in Rajkot civil hospital, while in Ahmedabad the number of deaths was 111 out of 849.

The state health minister Nitin Patel while terming the reports "tragic" said that these numbers are not "alarming" as it is below the average infant mortality rate in the state. The minister said that malnutrition is the biggest reason behind these deaths apart from several diseases and other factors.
Patel, who is also deputy chief minister, said that no parallel can be drawn between the cases being reported in Rajasthan and Gujarat. While giving out details of the deaths, Patel said that in Rajkot from October and December a total of 269 children died in less than three weeks of their birth for various reasons. Similarly, in Ahmedabad, a total of 253 children died. He claimed that on an average these numbers are below the 25% mortality rate. He said that in December, the number rose due to the cold weather.
 
"Malnutrition is one of the biggest factors behind these deaths. Besides, Gujarat is largely a vegetarian state and people eat less nutritious food. We are trying to create awareness among the people particularly among the pregnant mothers to eat well to better the mortality rate. Gujarat has an average of 30% mortality rate and we are constantly trying to better it. In 1997, the rate was 62%."
 
Patel also criticised the Congress leaders to politicising these reports and said that "A large number of patients from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh come to Gujarat for treatment which adds burden on Gujarat infrastructure. We welcome everyone here but I am mentioning it because Congress leaders have been making allegations against us." 
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