Kolkata: The horrific incidents of infant deaths are nothing new in West Bengal. The shocking figures of previous years state a horrendous truth about the condition of infants in the government run hospitals in the state.

A number of government run hospitals in the state have witnessed similar haunting experience in the past too.

The condition of infants in state’s only child specialty center ‘BC Roy hospital’ has always been worrisome. Death of one or two children every day has become a common phenomenon here.

As per the figures, the hospital has witnessed deaths of 14 infants within two days in 2002 while seven deaths were reported in a single day in 2006 and 22 deaths within three days in 2006.

A whopping increase in the deaths of infants last year reignited the issue and the Mamata Banerjee led government had to face the brunt for its lackadaisical approach in the entire episode.

According to the reports, 18 infants died within three days in the month of June while 17 died within two days in October last year.

With the recent deaths of 11 infants within 48 hours, the condition has become more worrisome as the appalling dead toll remains unabated here and is showing no signs of improvement in near future.

Puspa Ghosh, the medical superintendant of B C Roy child hospital, said, “Out of the 1400 children brought to the hospital, 45 to 75 are being admitted on a daily basis here. Most of the patients come from the rural belt, who are after being referred here in their last stage. In such a condition, it becomes sometimes very difficult for us to treat them properly .”

“About 30-40 children die on an average every month despite undue efforts and proper medical care,” she added.

Adding to the woes, similar condition prevails in Malda Medical College and Hospital. As many as 115 infants died in the hospital in January this year.

State health director Vishwa Ranjan Satapathy said, “The condition is alarming here as on an average 1, 000 deaths are reported every year from this hospital only.”

“Devastated condition of health arrangements for proper treatment of serious diseases are the sole reason of deaths,” sources claimed.

Notably, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the health portfolio, has accepted the gloomy condition of the health facilities in the state.

Launching a scathing attack on the Trinamool Congress government, former Health Minister Suryakant Mishra said, “During the rule of CPI-M in the state, with 37 deaths at that time, the infant mortality rate was recorded lower than the national figures.”

After Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, West Bengal stands fourth in the infant mortality rate.

As per the HMIS reports, 26.3 percent infants died within 24 hours after birth in 2009-10 in the state.

Moreover, while 41 percent died within seven days after their birth while 18 percent of infants died within one year of their survival in West Bengal in 2009-10.

(JPN/ Bureau)