Country over Infant Mortality Rate is decreasing but that’s not the case with Uttarakhand.
It has among the worst IMRs in the country currently at 38 infant deaths per thousand births, it has got another distinction also - In state capital Dehradun's government health centres and hospitals, there is just one ventilator for newborn babies.
The lone ventilator is in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the Govt Doon Medical College Hospital (GDMCH). There are nine other government health facilities in the city including two prominent hospitals — Combined Hospital at Premnagar and Coronation Hospital at Dalanwala — where the crucial ventilator facility is missing.(TOI report)
Experts said that the situation is a grim one considering that on an average, at least 20 babies are born every day in GDMCH and almost a similar number of deliveries take place in all the other health centres combined. Of these, many babies require intensive care which is denied to them. 70% of infant deaths in the state incidentally are of newborns (babies less than 28 days old). Most of them have died due to lack of timely medical aid.
Interestingly, although GDMCH has three ventilators for newborns, two have been lying defunct for the past two months. A source in the hospital said that the "breakdown of the ventilators is a frequent problem." "These machines break down frequently due to constant movement of infants who are put inside them. Some machines had been repaired recently but they broke down again. We have informed concerned officials and are hoping that the machines will be repaired soon."
Patients meanwhile are bearing the brunt of the lack of this crucial component of neonatal care. "We had to rush our 20-day baby to a private hospital because we were refused admission in a government hospital whose doctors said there was no ventilator available. Only after spending over a lakh of rupees could our baby be saved," said Avinash Kumar, a resident of Premnagar.
On an average, around 40 to 50 births every day are reported from Dehradun district's government health facilities. The infants which require critical care are either referred to GDMCH — which with its lone operational ventilator is forced to turn away most of the cases. In the process, crucial time is lost which often results in the infant's death.
Why do people fail to question the government for it's failure to provide the basic health facilities, why don't we ask govt what is preventing them from providing Ventilators, providing CT Scan, MRI machines?
Probably they will say it needs money to buy these things, which private sector should do and thus put away the service providing responsibility from the state.
If people will get angry on the cost, govt will tell them we will be putting one more regulation over those who are providing these things, instead of buying the machines and providing them to every person in the country for free.
No child should be denied this life saving modality, but still the government stays away from taking any responsibility for it’s failure and this cycle goes on with everyone except the state being the sufferer.
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