The BJP on Saturday blamed the Congress government for the deaths of infants at a Kota hospital and claimed that the actual death toll was not nine but 17.
A four-member team consisting of deputy leader of opposition Rajendra Rathore, MP Jaskaur Meena and MLAs Sandeep Sharma and Madan Dilawar, visited the JK Lon hospital in Kota, 270 km from Jaipur.
They met officials and relatives of patients and inspected the wards, equipment and other facilities available.
Rathore said as per the medical superintendent Dr SC Dulara, deaths of 12 and not nine newborns had occurred on December 10. The next day, another five infants had died, talking the toll to 17.
“The death of 17 infants in two days is a slap on the face of the government. If the health minister has any compassion, he should resign,” Rathore told reporters.
“The government made announcements but failed to fulfill them. The government is squarely to blame. This hospital had become a death factory for children due to negligence by the government,” he said.
He said one year after 107 infants died in the hospital, the situation had changed little.
“We are still facing the same issues. Shortage of staff, lack of infrastructure and equipment have not been addressed. There are four paediatric units here and three are being managed by one assistant professor. Two-two children are being kept in one warmer,” Rathore told reporters.
Meena said she had found the labour room to be dirty and many of the instruments kept there were rusted. Bathrooms are not being cleaned and there was water seepage.
On Thursday, nine infants between one and seven days old had died at the hospital.
While the BJP attacked the government, the state human rights commission and child rights commission also took cognizance of the matter and sent members to inspect the hospital.
Under fire, the government sprang into action and on Friday, a new ICU ward for newborns with 12 beds equipped with warmers and oxygen was started.
A four-member team of experts from Jaipur was rushed to the hospital on Friday on the directions of health minister Raghu Sharma to investigate the deaths and submit a report.
Sharma said a 54 bed Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and a 21 bed PICU was being developed and a new hospital building with 154 beds is being built and will be ready next year.
He said the additional staff was being deployed at the hospital including 14 doctors, 2 professors and 3 assistant professors. He said 29 additional nursing staff too has been posted at the hospital.