Deaths of children and infants at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur continued to mount, with more than 40 deaths reported in the last 48 hours.
Local and national TV reported that 42 children have died in the hospital, three weeks after over 60 children, including infants, died in a span of five days.
Officials at the hospital confirmed the deaths but said it was “not due to paucity of medicines, doctors or oxygen” as had allegedly been the case when more than 60 children died in a span of a week earlier this month.
Principal of the medical college, P.K. Singh said the deaths were routine in August as the acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) is at its peak in the month.
Talking to IANS, the principal said that between Sunday to Monday midnight, 25 children had died, with seven succumbing to AES. The remaining 18 died due to other complications like infections, pneumonia and other causes.
Singh said that a total of 344 “on bed patients” were admitted in the ward. Of the 25 deaths, 10 had taken place in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and 15 in the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU).
Doctors inform that many children come to the hospital in “extremely critical condition” from Bihar, Nepal as well as other districts of the state, where it is “nearly impossible to reverse their condition”.
The BRD medical college attracted global attention when more than 60 children, including infants, died at the hospital within a span of a week earlier this month. The deaths reportedly happened due to disruption in the oxygen supply by the vendor who was not paid for several months. The charge however was denied by the state government.
AES has become a scourge in many districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh. According to a report by the Directorate of National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme (NVBDCP), 26,686 cases of encephalitis were reported in the state between 2010 and August 2017.
Of this, 24,668 cases were of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and more than 2,000 of Japanese Encephalitis (JE). Out of the AES patients, 4,093 died between 2010-17 period, 308 JE deaths were also reported between the corresponding period.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a five-time MP from Gorakhpur, says he has launched a battle against the diseases. He has also stressed that besides vaccination, cleanliness is the best way to keep the vector borne disease out. Under the ‘Swacch Bharat’ campaign, the Chief Minister says a lot was been done in Uttar Pradesh’s AES affected areas.