‘Previous Left government to blame for poor healthcare infrastructure in West Bengal'

In the wake of uproar over the crib deaths at two State-run hospitals, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said most of the babies that had died were underweight and malnourished.

Emphasising that the problem was “hidden elsewhere,” Ms. Banerjee, who has additional charge of the Health portfolio, blamed the previous Left Front government for the poor healthcare infrastructure in the State.

“West Bengal ranks fourth after Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala among all the States of the country for the maximum child deaths in a year. Forty thousand children die every year in West Bengal,” Ms. Banerjee said. 

Ms. Banerjee alleged that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had “left bricks, sands and cement in the name of hospitals, with no doctors inside” even as some CPI(M) leaders were now criticising her government over the recent infant deaths. 

Clean chit

The Health Department had given a clean chit to both the Dr. B.C. Roy Memorial Post Graduate Institute of Paediatric Sciences and the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital.

Ms. Banerjee said the government had released Rs.1,200 crore for rural healthcare programmes since she came to power.  

There are no children hospitals in the State other than the Dr. B. C. Roy Memorial Post Graduate Institute of Paediatric Sciences.

“If a day-old child has to travel long distances to be admitted to a hospital, how does one expect the child to survive?” Ms. Banerjee said.