GANDHINAGAR: In a shocking revelation, the Gujarat government has admitted some 1,018 infant deaths at the Adani Foundation-run GK General Hospital in Bhuj, Kutch district, over the past five years.
GK General Hospital is the first of the state government's public-private partnership initiatives in the health sector.
The disclosure was made by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel in a written reply in the Assembly on the deaths of infants at the hospital. Patel also holds health and finance portfolios.
The state government had in May 2018 set up an inquiry into the hospital's functioning following uproar over deaths of 111 infants there in five months.
Patel said the committee concluded that deaths occurred due to serious complications among premature babies and infectious diseases, respiratory complications, birth asphyxia and sepsis among infants, either referred to the hospital or born there.
He, however, claimed treatment administered by the hospital was according to "set protocols and standard guidelines."
Infant deaths are a routine affair in Gujarat's private and public hospitals.
Just months after the GK General Hospital tragedies, 18 infants had died at Ahmedabad's Civil Hospital -- Asia's biggest government hospital -- in 48 hours.
"Five-six children die here every day," H.H. Prabhakar, Civil Hospital, medical superintendent, had said during the controversy.
According to the Gujarat government's official figures, 188 children died in 2014-15, 187 in 2015-16, 208 in 2016-17, 276 in 2017-18 and 159 in 2018-19 (till now) due to various medical complications.
As many as 164 infants died in the first four months of last year at the government-run KD Children's Hospital in Rajkot, the hometown of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.