May 2012: Rattled by a large number of children dying in Srinagar’s GB Pant children's hospital, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday ordered a high-level enquiry to probe the alarming death rate in the hospital.
The government appointed director of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Showkat Zargar as the enquiry officer and asked him to submit the report on the reasons behindthe children’s death within a week.
Nearly 358 children have died in the hospital since January in both neonate and pediatrics wards. The highest deaths of 105 occurred in March followed by 85 in April. 68 deaths took place in January and 66 in February. 34 died during the first 12 days of this month alone.
GB Pant Hospital is the only referral tertiary care pediatric hospital in the Valley where patients not only from Kashmir, but also from far flung areas of Jammu and Ladakh visit for treatment.
“Most of the poor people who bring their children here do not have proper communication to reach here. Some kids who come here suffer from encephalitis and 98 to 99 % patients die. Some are born prematurely which is another reason (for death)”, said RS Chib, state medical education minister.
The minister said they feel bad about even a single death. “There is a need to go into further details. However medical authorities should take all measures to minimise the deaths by taking all possible measures”, he said.
Chib said around 62 doctors have already been deployed in the hospital for providing treatment.
“Due to heavy rush of the patients the government is already in the process to engage more para-medicos. Plus, efforts are on to upgrade the existing equipment so that the patient care is substantially improved”, he said.
The medical education minister said the provision for better health care to the people is the priority of the Omar Abdullah-led government.