Nine infants died in VSS Medical College Hospital within 24 hours on July 19, 20

Normal life in Burla, a western Odisha town, was affected on Monday when the local unit of Congress enforced a bandh protesting death of nine infants in VSS Medical College Hospital within 24 hours on July 19-20.

At Bhubaneswar, BJP activists staged a demonstration in front of residence of Health and Family Welfare Minister Damodar Rout demanding his resignation.

The series of protests were staged even as the government termed the deaths of infants at hospital as mere coincidence. Most of the deaths were referred to the hospital with history of acute illness, a top official of Health and Family Welfare department said.

Except medical shops, all other commercial establishments closed shop. Educational institutions in Burla, which is the education hub of western Odisha, remained closed.

Workers of local unit of Congress blocked the road and demanded judicial inquiry into the death of infants.

BJP workers said it was a shocking incident as nine kids died one after another in a State-run hospital whereas the government had no accountability towards the poorest of poor.

“Despite huge funds being spent for improving hospital facility in medical colleges, poor medical services continue to trouble patients.

It is just cannot acceptable as to how nine children died in span of 24 hours. The Minister must tender his resignation taking responsibility of death of infants,” said BJP leader Srimantini Jena.

Earlier reacting to mounting criticism, Health Minister Mr. Rout said, “The government did not make any delay and ordered for any inquiry. A three member team has already visited the hospital. If government finds any act of negligence in the report, action would certainly be taken against culprits.”

Hospital sources said of the nine deaths, five had birth asphyxia while two had very low birth weight. Deaths were recorded in Special new Born Care Unit of VSS Medical College Hospital.

The government has ordered an inquiry. A three-member team has already visited the hospital. If the government finds any act of negligence, action will certainly be taken against culprits

Damodar Rout

Health and Family Welfare Minister