JAIPUR: After the death of around 112 infants in a Kota hospital in 35 days, substandard Chinese medical equipment, corruption and commission cycles have emerged as major reasons behind the tragedy besides the cold weather.
On Tuesday, Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said that inferior Chinese-made equipment was being used in Kota's JK Lon hospital.
"We have initiated an inquiry into the purchase of Chinese equipment," he said on the sidelines of a meeting of senior health officials in Jaipur, adding that Additional Chief Secretary Health Rohit Kumar Singh shall investigate the matter to find out who was behind the purchase of such equipment.
Earlier, the committees formed by the state and central government confirmed hypothermia as the major reason for deaths in JK Lon in Kota, however, the stories of commission and corruption cycles going on in the hospital have been narrated by the hospital employees themselves.
Hospital officials confirmed to IANS that no private firms or technicians were called in to rectify the equipment lying dysfunctional for months as former Hospital Superintendent H.L. Meena and ex-pediatrician HOD Amritlal Meena could not be reached.
Eventually, ways and means to fix commission cycles could not be decided between the two due to which things were left the way they were in the hospital, staff told IANS.
Hospital superintendent Suresh Dulara when asked if commission sharing was the reason why the equipment remained dysfunctional said, "Commission sharing can be a wrong word, but yes there were grave irregularities rampant across the top level due to which they were shunted."
Meanwhile, there were reports of deaths in high numbers coming in from government hospitals in Jodhpur, Bikaner and Ajmer too when Kota's JK Lon was being discussed nationwide for its irregularities and child deaths.
Jodhpur's SN Medical College's Department of Paediatrics reportedly recorded deaths of around 146 children in December 2019.
These deaths were reported in two government hospitals namely Umaid and MDM hospitals.
However, according to SN Medical College principal, S.S. Rathore, "Most of the children who died were those referred from other surrounding districts in a critical condition."
Similarly, in Bikaner's PBM hospital, 162 infant deaths were reported in the month of December.
Dr H.S. Kumar, Principal of Sardar Patel Medical College, also said that the infant deaths recorded were mostly critical cases that were sent to the hospital from villages after the condition of the babies deteriorated.
In both the hospitals, there were same reports pouring in which confirmed that many doctors were busy in private practice and that they too were working on commission-sharing basis with chemists and private diagnostic centres.
"This is not the plight of one government hospital, but the government hospital mechanism remains the same everywhere. The mushrooming of medicine shops and diagnostic centres outside any government hospital speaks many silent stories yet no strong initiative has ever been taken by the government officials to kill the booming nexus between government doctors and chemists and owners of these diagnostic centres," said a retired doctor from SMS, which is the biggest government hospital of Rajasthan.
A chemist working outside SMS hospital said that his shop works on regular commission with government doctors. A total of 30 per cent commission is being shared by doctors.
"There are around 20 pharmaceutical companies operating in Jaipur whose drugs are being prescribed by doctors. Being small, their samples are never tested and eventually they are not high in quality, but still are being endorsed by doctors and therefore are being sold."
"Surprisingly, this system has become like a communicable disease which affected the entire medical system which seems unstoppable now. Then the lobbying by doctors is also quite strong, you take action against one and they all stand united," he told IANS with an anguished look.