Infant deaths at JK Lon Hospital in Kota rise to 100: The shocking death of more than 100 infants at the J K Lon Hospital in Rajasthan’s Kota has failed to wake up the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government which is in deep slumber and failed to provide the basic healthcare facility to the people. It is also a matter of pity that most of the child care activists and NGOs are maintaining a stoic silence on the infant death case while the media is busy covering the political issues related to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Population Register (NPR). Even the top Congress leaders haven’t said anything on the issue so far.

Reports said 8 newborns have lost their lives at JK Lon Hospital in Kota in the last two days. Speaking on the tragedy, Dr. Amrit Lal, HOD, Pediatrics Department, said the newborns died due to various reasons in the last two days and there were 100 deaths in the month of December. If we go by the reports, the largest government-run hospital was functioning at 150% of its capacity and some patients were sleeping on the floor due to lack of beds. Apart from that, the hospital doesn’t have a proper oxygen supply facility which is said to be the main reason behind infant deaths.

On Thursday, BSP supremo Mayawati slammed Congress General Secretary (UP-East) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for not paying heed to the Kota hospital tragedy. Taking to Twitter, the BSP supremo said it is sad that Priyanka is keeping mum on the deaths of 100 children in Congress-ruled Rajasthan. It would have been better if like Uttar Pradesh, she would have met the mothers of the infants who have died at J K Lon Hospital, due to the apathy of the Gehlot government, Mayawati added.

The Kota infant death case has exposed the Rajasthan government’s apathy towards the already neglected health sector in the state, let alone CM Ashok Gehlot’s tall claims on child rights protection and human trafficking issue. Gehlot, who was the first person to came out in solidarity with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra over the anti-CAA protest, didn’t even say a word on the infant death case on December 28, 2019.

Apart from ordering all hospitals attached to medical colleges to check the functional status of all medical types of equipment at J K Lon Hospital and send a report, the Rajasthan government has done nothing while the infant deaths are growing now. Pleading not guilty in the entire case, CM Ashok Gehlot and health minister Raghu Sharma had said that most of the infants were referred to the hospital in critical condition from nearby districts and from neighbouring Madhya Paradesh.

Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma, who had reportedly blamed the visiting BJP leaders for spreading infection at the infant care unit in J K Lon Hospital, said the state government is saddened by this. Softening his stand on the incident, Sharma said it is the responsibility of the Rajasthan government to give clinical support to its people and the state govt saved all the children who were in a condition to be saved but failed to save those who were brought with critical ailments.

Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma.

Talking to reporters in Jaipur, Sharma said the Congress government in Rajasthan has brought down the child mortality rate while the BJP is politicising the issue at the behest of the PMO. The minister also said the BJP was in power in the state in 2015, 2016, and 2017 but it didn’t release the funds sought by the hospital authority.

On December 31, 2019, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) working president JP Nadda had sent a 3-member committee of its MPs to JK Lon Hospital to take stock of the situation. Rajya Sabha MP Kanta Kardam, West Bengal MP Locket Chatterjee, and Dausa MP Jaskaur Meena were in the committee. The members blamed the Gehlot government over the lack of basic infrastructure at the hospital.

Today, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said he has written a letter to Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot requesting him to look into the matter. Extending all possible support from the BJP and Centre, Harsh Vardhan said the number of deaths is higher this time compared to the last few years.

Kota infant death case: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan speaks to reporters in Delhi on Thursday, January 2, 2020.

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