We need to improve facilities, says Governor

With five more babies dying at the State-run Malda Medical College and Hospital on Monday, the number of children died in the facility over the past week has reached 32.

West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan told journalists here that the State government was deeply concerned about the deaths and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was personally looking into the issue.

“I do not think there is any belittling of the issue. I think everybody is deeply concerned … We need to improve the facilities and that is something that cannot be changed overnight,” Mr. Narayanan said.

Stating that he was not trying to put the blame on anyone, he said it was clear that there was a need for better facilities for which efforts were being made. “The quicker the results, the better.”

Meanwhile, D. Bhattacharya, principal of the Malda Medical College and Hospital, told The Hindu over telephone that the hospital had upgraded its Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) from a 12-bed facility to a 22-cot one.

He said the hospital did not have adequate infrastructure to deal with a deluge of patients, particularly since the hospital was upgraded to the status of a medical college last year. “About 250 patients are admitted to the 100-bed hospital,” he said. Additional 70 beds would be added in the coming months.

However, Dr. Bhattacharya identified low birth weight and the fact that the infants were being referred from other hospitals and coming to the Malda hospital in a moribund condition as the main reasons for the high incidence of deaths.