Infant deaths: NHRC sends notice to UP govt, seeks report

Infant deaths: NHRC sends notice to UP govt, seeks report

New Delhi: The NHRC has sent a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government over the death of several children at a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur, observing that it indicated “gross callousness” on part of the health administration.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) asked the state Chief Secretary to submit a detailed report in four weeks on the steps taken for relief and rehabilitation of the affected families as well as the action taken against the guilty officers, the NHRC on Monday said.
Over 60 children have reportedly died at BRD Medical College Hospital since August 7, many allegedly for want of oxygen whose supply was disrupted after bills were not paid to the vendor. The rights panel has taken suo motu cognisance of several media reports hinting at negligence in the supply of liquid oxygen at the hospital which resulted in the tragedy.
“The reported deaths, in such a large number at a government-run hospital, amount to serious violation of right to life and health of the innocent victims.
“This indicates towards gross callousness on part of the hospital administration and the medical education and health department of the government of Uttar Pradesh,” the Commission said in a statement.
Earlier also, the NHRC said, it has come across several instances of deaths in the hospitals due to Japanese Encephalitis.
The rights panel observed that the issue of death due to Japanese Encephalitis was discussed with the Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary and other senior officers of the state government in detail during the Commission’s recently concluded open hearing and camp sitting in Lucknow. The camp was held from August 9-11 for the cases related to Uttar Pradesh. However, in spite of assurance given by the state administration, the “situation has not improved”, the Commission observed.
According to the various media reports, carried since August 12, the private firm, contracted to supply liquid oxygen to the BRD Medical College, stopped the supplies, as it was not paid the outstanding dues of almost Rs 70 lakh and the result was tragic deaths of about 60 children, admitted in the neo-natal and encephalitis wards of the hospital, it said.
As per those reports, a magisterial inquiry has been ordered by the administration to ascertain the cause of the fatalities, it said.
“In the last three decades, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) have claimed over 50,000 lives in the eastern Uttar Pradesh, mostly in Gorakhpur district. It is further mentioned that a total of 124 deaths were reported in the hospital till August 8,” it said. “And, 641 children died last year and 491 in the year 2015,” the Commission said.

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