19 infants die in two Bengal hospitals

Highlighting the poor state of health services in West Bengal, 19 infants have died in two district government hospitals in the past two days, a state official said Friday.

Nine infants died at Malda Medical College and Hospital, while 10 perished at the Bankura Sammilani Medical College since Wednesday.

"Ten babies have died at the hospital in the last two days. They were suffering from pneumonia and birth asphyxia and some were underweight at birth," Superintendent of Bankura Sammilani Medical College and Hospital Panchanan Kundu said, explaining the reasons. Four infants died Wednesday and six Thursday.

"In the last 48 hours, nine infants have died, seven of them were 15 days old," Malda Medical College and Hospital Vice-Principal M.A. Rashid said.

He said most of the newborns were admitted from rural hospitals in Malda district and outside with afflictions ranging from pneumonia to septicaemia.

According to hospital officials, around 125 infants have died in the Malda hospital in the new year.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the health portfolio, described the reports of deplorable condition in district hospitals and health centres leading to the deaths as "rumours".

She recently said 50,000 babies perish every year in the state because they are born at home.

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