The Centre will send a high-level team comprising experts from AIIMS, Jodhpur and health economists to a government hospital in Rajasthan's Kota, where 100 infants died in December, to assess the infrastructural gaps and measures to be taken to prevent further deaths.
The health economists will analyse the gaps in the infrastructure of the JK Lon hospital to ascertain how much funds will be required for strengthening it.
"The high-level team being despatched by @MoHFW_INDIA incl experts from AIIMS Jodhpur, Health Finance & Regional Director, Health Services Jaipur. It will reach #Kota tomorrow. In my letter too to @ashokgehlot51 ji, I've offered all possible assistance to prevent any further deaths (sic)," Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in a tweet on Thursday.
Vardhan has also written to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, assuring him of all assistance, and urged him to initiate measures to stop the deaths of children at the JK Lon hospital.
"We are ready to provide any technical help or assistance. Let us ensure no child succumbs to preventable causes or due to lack of health system capacity," Vardhan has written in his letter to Gehlot.
According to Union health ministry officials, a preliminary probe has suggested that over 70 per cent of important equipment, including infusion pumps, warmers, oxymeters, nebulisers, meant for newborns, were not in a working condition at the JK Lon hospital and there was a paucity of staff in the paediatrics department.
A recent review had also revealed that the mortality rate at the hospital was 20.2 per cent in 2019, as against the 14.3 per cent in the preceding two years, an official said, adding that this meant one in five infants admitted to the hospital last year died from preventable causes.
The ministry was yet to receive a formal report from the state in this matter, the official said. Besides, a committee constituted by the Rajasthan government has stated that the deaths were taking place due to a lack of oxygen pipelines in the hospital and also because of extreme cold conditions.
It also pointed towards an increased referral of critical cases and stated that the number of beds in the hospital was less than the flow of patients. The situation at the ICUs was also similar, the committee said.
"I informed @ashokgehlot51 ji that Rs 91.7 lakhs has already been advanced to JK Loan Hospital during 2019-20 under National Health Mission. Kota District alone has an annual allocation of Rs 27.45 Cr for '19-20, from the annual budgeted amount of Rs 1788.97 Cr for Rajasthan state (sic)," Vardhan said in another tweet.
"I told @ashokgehlot51 ji that #Rajasthan may go ahead and propose for further financial assistance in the upcoming Rajasthan National Health Mission (NHM) meeting after doing their gap analysis. We'll do our best to prevent further deaths, I assured him fully," the Union health minister wrote on Twitter.
I informed @ashokgehlot51 ji that Rs 91.7 lakhs has already been advanced to JK Loan Hospital during 2019-20 under National Health Mission. Kota District alone has an annual allocation of Rs 27.45 Cr for ‘19-20, from the annual budgeted amount of Rs 1788.97 Cr for Rajasthan state— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) January 2, 2020