The Centre on Saturday sought a detailed report from the Uttar Pradesh government on the deaths of more than 60 children in the past five days at a Gorakhpur hospital, said Health Ministry sources.
Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel and Health Secretary CK Mishra were asked to visit Gorakhpur and look into the various lapses at the BRD Medical College where these children were admitted, a Ministry official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Amid these developments, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh suspended the Principal of the Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital, where the deaths occurred, for negligence.
Health Secretary Mishra has reached Gorakhpur while Patel was expected to reach there soon.
The Union Health Ministry planned to send a delegation of doctors from Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Safdarjung Hospital and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital to help the doctors at BRD, the official said.
Sixty-three children have lost their lives due to encephalitis and reported the lack of oxygen supply in five days, of whom many were infants, and 30 of the deaths were reported in the last 48 hours.
The BRD medical college has been receiving massive funds from the state to tackle encephalitis, especially after Yogi Adityanath became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Attendants and family members of the patients admitted at the medical college, however, claim that despite the funds, there were neither doctors nor proper treatment, adequate medicines or oxygen supply.
Earlier on Saturday, Adityanath dispatched state Health Minister Siddhartha Nath Singh and Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon to the tragedy-struck town with instructions to “spare none for the tragedy”.
Facing flak from the opposition for inaction, Adityanath’s office on Saturday afternoon tweeted, quoting Health Minister Singh, that the medical college principal has been suspended with immediate effect.