NHRC issues show cause to Odisha over medical negligence to 36 kids

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today issued a show cause notice to Odisha Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy asking it to reply within six weeks as to why compensation of Rs 10 lakh not to be given to each of 36 children of Behula village under Garadapur block in Kendrapara district. The children had fallen ill after taking worm medicine, Albendazole syrup in 2014 in a deworming camp.

As the medicine administered to the children had expired, the NHRC asked the Chief Secretary to take action against the concerned authorities.

Based on a petition filed by human rights activist Akhanda, the NHRC further said during an inquiry it was found that 27 numbers of Albendazole syrup were given on 05.11.2014 at Behula village during routine immunization point; out of such, six vials were found to be expired by date and as per the allegations these expired vials were consumed by six children and such vials were recovered from the custody of their parents.

Ruling out the negligence of the concerned ANM and ASHA, who were monitoring the immunization camp, the NHRC said it seems in order to save their medical officers/doctors who are supposed to possess technical knowledge of the medicines as to which medicine should be administered or not.

“It also rejected the contention that administration of expired medicine may be due to negligence of some concerned ANM and ASHA, since it is the duty of doctors and medical officers that which medicine may be administered to the children or not and whether it is expired medicine or not is within the purview of expert doctors/medical officer,” the rights commission said.

The Commission also rejects the theory that some miscreant villagers might have mixed the expired Albendazole liquid with the other medicine in order to exhort money from ANM or ASHA worker. “It is quite reasonable to ask why villagers would mix the expired medicine and from where they got it and why to mix, only to harm their children?” the NHRC said.

The doctors and medical officers/staff keeping the storage of said medicines and providing such expired medicines are responsible and liable to be punished adequately and departmental disciplinary action must be initiated against their negligent acts and omissions.

The commission further said it is immaterial that parents of the children after suffering from the administration of medicine did not bring their children for treatment to the Patkura CHC.

The NHRC arrived at the conclusion that human rights of children of Behula village have been violated and they are entitled for the monetary compensation/relief.

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