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Crib death spectre returns to haunt West Bengal

Kolkata, June 10: Fifteen infants have died in the state-run Sardar Deven Mahato Hospital in Purulia in the last four days according to Superintendent Nilanjana Sen. She claimed that most of the victims were suffering from low birth weight and were brought to the hospital from neighbouring villages.

This hospital is the first in the state to be equipped with a sick neonatal care unit (SNCU) that was set up in 2003 and 18 beds. 'Most of the children admitted here are referred from block-level hospitals and there is a heavy rush of patients to the hospital,' Ms Sen said. Among those admitted are a large number from Jharkhand too. Eight infants died on Friday, added a senior government health official here.

This recent spurt in crib deaths is sure to harangue Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee whose election promises of poriborton after years of decadent Left rule isn't turning out to be exactly what the dwellers of West Bengal had hoped for. Ironically, the TMC election manifesto had promised significant healthcare service improvements and promised to revamp primary health centres, district hospitals, sub-divisional hospital and super-specialty apex hospitals. In 2011, 109 babies died at Malda Medical College and Hospital, and 48 at BC Roy in 2011 but the government seems to have done nothing except creating a task force.

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