Expressing his deep anguish over the death of nine new born babies, former minister and senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik on Monday appealed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take strict measures in preventing neo-natal deaths in the State.
Calling for a comprehensive review of the neo-natal health care in the State, the former president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) hoped that the State Government will take suitable and exemplary action to fix accountability and compensate the victims.
“But, the question remains that if babies could not be saved at the VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla, where else could they have been saved?,” Patnaik asked.
Patnaik, a former health minister, said Odisha has a serious issue with neo-natal deaths and remains at the bottom among States in neo-natal mortality rate.
There is a direct correlation between poverty and high incidence of neo-natal death. But unfortunately, the State does not seem to have benefited enough from the increased allocation of funds by the Centre with specific focus on neo-natal healthcare, he said.
Under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), people are being deployed and assigned the responsibility to create awareness regarding maternal and child health issues, the former minister said and he also added that they are further expected to mobilise the community and help them in accessing healthcare services.
“A safe motherhood intervention named ‘Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY)’ has been implemented under the NRHM to increase the institutional delivery rates and provide skilled care at birth. As is evident, the system is malfunctioning,” Patnaik added.
Stating that what happened at Burla is not an isolated incident, but a regular affair in the State’s hospitals, Patnaik said this time nine deaths in 24 hours have drawn national attention.
The healthcare and social sectors have to attend to pregnant mothers with more resources and commitment, the former minister said and added that these would help the State more than populist instruments like distribution of blankets, cycles and mobile phones.