While the hospital staff at Kolar’s Sri Narasimha Raja District Hospital claimed that the three infant deaths in a day were due to premature birth and underweight, the death report is harrowing.
According to a report by the Times of India, apart from these causes mentioned by the hospital staff, two of the three infants were also suffering from sepsis – the infection spread due to use of unclean handlers and labour rooms at the time of delivery.
The report states that sepsis is considered a major contributor to infant mortality rate in Karnataka, along with choking of babies and low birth weight.
According to the Health Director's report, two were underweight and the third suffered from brain deformities.
Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary of the Health and Family Welfare Department, said that the government is focusing on the skill of conducting deliveries as inefficiency leads to choking of infants, especially in the second stage of labour.
“This is a major cause of infant death in Karnataka. Infections like sepsis due to unclean handlers and labour rooms and low birth weight due to anaemia and malnutrition in mothers are the other major causes of infant mortality,” she said.
According to a report submitted by the Director, to Shalini Rajneesh, 90 of the 1,053 infants admitted to the Kolar hospital, had died between January 1 and August 22 this year nd 82 of the 1,211 infants admitted to the hospital died in 2016.
On Wednesday, the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission decided to probe the infant deaths at the hospital.
Although, prima facie, it appears that the hospital staff were not responsible as the two of the three babies were underweight, the KSHRC is planning to conduct a detailed probe into the deaths.
KSHRC officials, who visited the hospital found that the equipment is outdated.
The Health Department has alerted all ASHA and anganwadi workers to take special care in high-risk pregnancies using mother and child tracking system.
“We invite active involvement of family members who should take special care of pregnant women suffering from malnutrition and other complications,” Rajneesh added.
According to TOI, Karnataka has seen 11,212 infant deaths in 2016-17, with Belagavi recording the highest number (1,049) followed by Kalaburgi (817) and Vijayapura (726).
Of 11,212 deaths, the maximum number occurred at the age of 29 days to 1 year. As many as 3,235 infants lost their lives at the age of 29 days to one year, followed by 2,360 deaths of infants aged zero to one day, 2,299 infants aged two to three days and 1,468 infants in age group of four to seven days, the report states.