As many as 78 children died in the NICU ward of Thane District Civil Hospital during the last seven-month period, according to an official report submitted by the district health department to the state government.

Of the total 572 new born children admitted for treatment in the NICU, 78 died during this period, the report submitted to Maharashtra Health Minister Suresh Shetty said.

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Though the report does not mention the cause of these deaths, it further enlists the lack of availability of medical health care facilities in government hospitals of Thane. For a population of more than 1.10 crore, the biggest district in the country, the available cots in all the government hospitals is just 1,206, the report mentioned. Of the total posts of 54 class I, II and III medical officers for the Thane Civil Hospital, at least 25 percent are still vacant, the report said adding that in the entire district the vacancy is around 16 percent.

There is no psychiatrist, ophthalmist, and TB and ENT specialist in the civil hospital, it said.

The hospital treated a total of 58,898 out patients and 6,263 indoor patients. Besides, 276 patients died in the hospital during treatment, it said. During the last five-year period, only 1,442 beneficiaries took the advantage of the 'Janani Suraksha Yojana' in the district and nearly Rs one lakh were spent on it, it added.