Two more cribs suffering from fever, cough and respiratory illness died in two separate government hospitals since Thursday raising the death toll to 49, unofficially, across the state during the last two months.
After holding meeting with the state chief secretary HK Dwivedi and health secretary NS Nigam, chief minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters at state secretariat Nabanna on Thursday: “Only two babies died of adenovirus infections in Bengal out of 12 babies’ deaths recorded in the state during last one month so far.”
“Most of the deceased had co-morbidities and there is no need to panic, though any death is unfortunate and shocking. We have adequate infrastructure including 5,000 beds and human resource strength like 600 doctors in the government healthcare system to provide treatment to ailing babies,” Mamata who also leads the health department said.
“Don’t refer patients to city hospitals because district hospitals have adequate infrastructure to treat babies. I would ask ASHA (accredited social health activist) workers to make awareness campaigns in their respective areas to alert people on viral diseases,” she added.
The state health department claimed that 654 paediatric intensive care units (PICUs) and 121 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are there in different government hospitals to fight adenovirus or pneumoniaaffected babies.
Dr Arun Singh, head of neonatal unit of AIIMS in Jaipur and former advisor to Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram, said, “As per international standard, a 10-bed PICU requires basic infrastructure like eight high-flow oxygen devices, three paediatric ventilators, one infusion pump for each bed, four trained doctors and five nurses in every shift.”
A senior paediatrician attached to a premier government medical college in the city felt, “Most PICUs mainly in secondary level hospitals in districts does not have minimum infrastructure like adequate trained doctors and nurses and other logistics-paediatric ventilators to provide critical care treatment to babies below two years.”