India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the experts will analyse clinical protocols, service delivery, manpower availability and equipment for maternal, newborn and pediatrics care services at the Kota Medical College hospital in Rajasthan state.
The state government said there was no negligence on the part of doctors as most of the children who died were referral cases reaching the hospital in the town of Kota from distant villages, including newly born children suffering from low birth weight, premature deliveries and nascent infections.
State Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said in a tweet that the state health department was providing the best facilities in the hospital, which is nearly 400km (250 miles) southwest of New Delhi.
The Press Trust of India news agency cited some health ministry officials as saying that more than 70% of key equipment like infusion pumps, warmers and nebulizers for newborns were not in working condition at the hospital. There was also a shortage of doctors and supporting staff in the pediatrics department.
High fatality rates among children in some of India’s poorest regions have revealed cracks in the country’s health care system.
Poor parents in remote villages travel 100km (60 miles) or more to reach a well-equipped government hospital, with a large number of sick children dying on the way. - AP
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