No “unusual” crib death was reported on Saturday in either the Dr. B.C. Roy Post Graduate Institute of Paediatric Science in the city or the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital, both of which were in the news this week for the high incidence of deaths of babies.
Asked about the spurt in crib deaths, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the Health portfolio, declined comment.
Mrinal Kanti Chatterjee, principal of the Dr. B. C. Roy Post Graduate Institute of Paediatric Science told The Hindu: “There have been no unusual deaths reported today. Being a tertiary facility, some deaths always occur at the hospital.”
While the hospital has been at the receiving end of criticism for delays in upgrading its infrastructure, Dr. Chatterjee said a 40-bed Sick Neonatal Care Unit (SNCU), with state-of-the-art equipment, would be inaugurated on Monday.
The setting up of the SNCU at the hospital was one of the announcements made immediately after 19 crib deaths were reported at the same hospital over a 48-hour-period in June this year.
Twelve babies died at the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital over two days.
Bardhaman District Magistrate Onkar Singh Meena said the problem of high infant mortality and the need for better neonatal care had been identified by district authorities and measures taken to arrest the issue.
It has been decided to set up SNCUs at the district and sub-divisional hospitals in Bardhaman. The SNCU at Asansol is expected to be ready for commissioning in November and the one at Durgapur should come up by March 2012, Mr. Meena said.