Infant death toll mounts to 26 in Cuttack Sishu Bhavan

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Aug 25:

Politics over the death toll at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics (SVPPGIP), the premier paediatrics hospital in Odisha also known as Sishu Bhavan, here is gaining momentum as fact-finding teams of Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress today visited the premier childcare institute to take stock of the grim situation as the death toll reached 26 with the death of a newborn this morning who was admitted to the hospital on August 22.

Sishu Bhawan CuttackWith the monsoon session of the Odisha Assembly witnessing uproarious scene since over a week over DG Prakash Mishra and godman Srimad Sarathi Baba issue, the series of deaths at Sishu Bhavan here in the past five days is all set to put the government on a sticky wicket. The Opposition members raised the issue during the zero hour today.

Congress’ fact-finding team headed by Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan comprised of Talsara MLA Dr Prafulla Majhi, senior party leader Suresh Mohapatra, president Cuttack City (Dist) Congress Committee Er Mohammad Moquim, party General Secretary Bijaylaxmi Sahoo among others visited the hospital and held talks with the hospital superintendent.

“The infrastructure is very poor here. There is no difference between the casualty ward and other wards. The hospital staff is much less than what is prescribed by the Medical Council of India (MCI). We found that the CT scan machine is out of order, there is no oxygen gas plant in the hospital and the pathology laboratory closes after evening hours. Moreover, it is closed on holidays. This is causing inconvenience to the patients as a result of which they are getting the tests done from private diagnostic centres. The prejudicial attitude of the nurses is forcing the poor patients turn to private hospitals,” Prasad Harichandan said.

It may be mentioned that the total bed strength at the institute is 416 and it currently has only 21 ICU beds.

Notably, the hospital superintendent Prof Niranjan Mohanty has been asked to submit a report to the government within three weeks.

“The situation has arisen due to poor healthcare facilities and infrastructure. This is the largest paediatric hospital in the state on which people across the state depend on it. We demand an independent probe into the newborn deaths,” Harichandan demanded.

Later in the day, Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak is scheduled to convene a high-level meeting on the issue of series of deaths at Sishu Bhawan where Health secretary, local MLA and other senior officials are slated to attend the meeting.

Soon after the Congress delegation made rounds of the hospital, a BJP team arrived at the hospital for the field visit.

The leader of the BJP legislature party in Odisha Assembly Basant Panda, Padampur MLA Pradip Purohit and Brajrajnagar MLA Radharani Panda visited the wards of the hospital and also held talks with Prof Mohanty.

“There are several deficiencies in the hospital. The superintendent has given report to the government on this earlier. But, the government ignored and nothing has been done. The hospital has been literally taken over by touts. The series of deaths are happening due to the negligence of the government and the health officials,” Pradip Purohit said.

On the other hand, the Odisha Medical Services Association (OMSA) has expressed its grief and demanded probe into the incident.

“This is an unfortunate incident. Proper inquiry should be done and guilty should be punished,” OMSA state president Dr Nirakar Bhatta said.

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