Kota Infant Deaths: How Many More Deaths Before The Govt Acts?

Every time, the deaths of several infants are first politicized & then sidelined, only to be forgotten soon.

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On 1 January 2020, in India alone 67,385 children were born. Even China has ranked behind us with respect to this figure. But while reading the good news about these newborns the screams of those in Kota echoed around me.

Whether it is Gorakhpur, Muzaffarpur or Kota every time, the deaths of hundreds of these innocent infants are first politicized and then kept aside, only to be forgotten soon.

Why is no one convicted for the deaths of these infants? Why are infant deaths never raised ahead of polls?

In JK Lon Hospital at Rajasthan's Kota, more than 100 infants have died in just a month. The number of deaths is still on the rise. As always, there is an attempt to suppress the real issue through unsympathetic political statements and blame games.

Since Congress is in power in Rajasthan, from UP CM Yogi Adityanath to BSP supremo Mayawati, nobody is leaving any stones unturned to attack the Congress govt.

But if you leave aside the blame game and focus on the cause of the tragedy in Kota, then a shocking report by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) will draw your attention.

The NCPCR Report

According to the NCPCR report, negligence, the poor condition of the hospital and poor sanitation are to blame for the infant deaths.

NCPCR Report points at:

  • Broken windowpanes
  • Broken doors
  • Pigs roaming on hospital premises.

Now, Kota is not a remote village. It is a district in Rajasthan where, every year, thousands of students come to prepare for IIT entrance exams.

So, it's evident that health is not a priority for the govt. A report released on 18 September 2018 by the United Nations Inter-Agency Group shows the deplorable infant mortality rate of India in comparison to the global rate.

There is no doubt that with every passing year, this figure has been improving, but it is still a sorry state. India is still unable to tackle diarrohea, pPneumonia, and malnutrition, which are considered to be the biggest causes of infant deaths.

Astoundingly, according to a UN report, infant deaths in India in the year 2017 stood at 8,02,000.

However, the real reason behind infant deaths is a lack of intent more than a lack of infrastructure. India only spends 2 percent of its GDP on healthcare. And this figure is shocking when compared to most other countries.

You’ll be shocked to know that in a country where lakhs of newborns die every year, the defence budget is almost 5 times the healthcare budget.

In the Budget 2019-2020, the government allocated Rs 4,31,010 crores for defence and Rs 62,659 crores in health.

In terms of infant deaths, India is way behind its neighbours Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar. So, the next time you listen to this song by poet Pradip: 'Hum Laye hai Tufaan Se Kashti Nikaal Ke Is Desh Ko Rakhna Mere Baccho Sambhal Ke'

Tell yourself, that before the infants take care of the nation and take it forward, it is the nation that needs to take care of them and protect them.

This page was originally published on Quint Hindi

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