Srinagar: With over 360 infants dying in the GB Pant hospital here since January, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday directed immediate recruitment of doctors and nurses there on an ad hoc basis till full-time arrangements were made.

"There is no need to wait for Public Service Commission to fill up the posts. I have directed the authorities concerned (state health and medical education department) to conduct walk-in interviews for doctors and nurses," he said.

Azad was talking to reporters after visiting the lone paediatric hospital in the Valley.

As per the data sent to Principal Government Medical College here, 895 deaths were reported last year. This year the number of deaths stood at 363 so far at the health-care facility.

Azad said the state government should adopt this procedure in other districts of the state as well, in case of need.

As part of measures to bring down the high infant mortality rate, he announced that patients up to the age of one month will be provided all medicines free of cost at the hospital.

He said the Centre has already released Rs 62 crore to the state on this account but the centrally-sponsored scheme has not been implemented here so far.

"I have directed the doctors that this scheme should be implemented from tomorrow. If any infant up to the age of one month has to get any (clinical) test done outside, the hospital will bear the expenses," he said.

Noting that there was lack of cleanliness in the hospital, he issued instructions to officers concerned to ensure proper hygiene inside the hospital.


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