Fifty-two infants have died in the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College Hospital in Jamshedpur over the last 30 days, reported ANI, adding that its superintendent has blamed malnutrition for the deaths.

Jharkhand, one of the poorest states, has one of the worst levels of malnutrition in the country. Over six lakh, or nearly 12%, of children below six years of age in the state suffer from severe malnutrition. Anaemia and birth defects affect 69.5% women and adolescent girls, and over 70% of children below five in the state, according to two consecutive National Family Health Surveys (1999 and 2006).

These deaths come in the backdrop of two other cases this month, where children died in hospitals. On August 20, three newborns died at the Bhim Rao Ambedkar Memorial Hospital in Raipur, allegedly because an oxygen operator was drunk and did not release the gas in the emergency and nursing wards.

More than 60 children died since August 7 at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Uttar Pradesh. While it has been alleged that they died because of lack of oxygen supply at the facility, the state government has maintained that the infants succumbed to encephalitis.