The Madras High Court bench here has directed the secretaries of the State Health Department and the Department of Medical Education to improve the facilities at the Department of Neonatology to minimise infant death ratio in the hospital.

Disposing the public interest litigation filed by C. Ananthraj, a social activist, a division bench comprising Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and P. Devadass directed the Health Department secretary to ensure proper medical treatment to infants who are admitted to the GRH.

In his petition, Mr. Ananthraj had alleged that the intensive care unit for infants at the GRH did not have adequate space to treat the infants and to accommodate their mothers and the medical staff.

Citing a newspaper report, the petitioner claimed that 761 infants died in the GRH in 2008, 705 in 2009, 765 in 2010 and 373 till May 2011.

The Dean filed a counter affidavit stating that the Paediatric Department Head had submitted a proposal to improve the facilities in the Neonatology Department. The matter is pending before the Health Department Secretary, he said.

Therefore, the judges have instructed the Secretaries of the Health and Medical Education departments to consider the proposal and take action within eight weeks.

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