The Gujarat government on Friday ordered an inquiry into the death of more than 100 newborns in the first five months of 2018 at the GK General Hospital in Bhuj, PTI reported. The hospital is run by the Adani Education and Research Foundation.
“We have formed a team of experts to probe reasons behind these deaths,” Gujarat Commissioner of Health Jayanti Ravi said. “We will take appropriate steps after the team submits its report.” The team from Gandhinagar is expected to reach Bhuj on Saturday, according to The Times of India.
According to hospital data, 777 newborns were in the hospital between January 1 and May 20. This included those infants born in the hospital as well as those admitted post-birth. Of these, 111 infants died, taking the mortality rate to 14%. In 2017, 258 newborns died, while 184 died in 2016 and 164 in 2015.
“The percentage of deaths against admission was 19% in 2015, 18% in 2016 and 21% in 2017, which was relatively higher,” hospital superintendent GS Rao said on Friday. “Since the mortality rate [now] is 14%, I think it is less than previous years. And, the way we are working, it will remain lowest at the end of this year.”
The hospital management attributed the mortality rate to malnutrition. “One of the reasons for death is pre-mature births,” Rao said. “Another is malnutrition as mothers may not have taken proper diet which help the baby gain weight inside the womb.”
He added that delayed reference was also a major contributor to the mortality rate, as patients waste several crucial hours in travelling to Bhuj from interior parts of Kutch district. “If a family comes here by travelling 250 kilometres, the delay would certainly affect the chances [of survival],” Rao said. “Our staff regularly discuss these issues among ourselves and we are working to reduce the deaths.”