Skip to main content

With Infant Mortality Rate of 62 per 1,000 child births, at 62.90 and 64.60 Zambia and South Sudan give competition to Gorakhpur

By Mitra Ranjan*
As we are celebrating 70th Independence Day, the death of more than 60 children over 5 days in the Baba Raghav Das College in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh is an extremely heart-breaking, inhuman and unfortunate incident. It is not only a matter of negligence but deliberate killing of Children who were suffering from symptoms of encephalitis. Thirty eight children died over 48 hours due to no oxygen in the hospital.
Despite the CM’s knowledge of this lapse no step was taken, leading to the death of so many innocent children. All of them belonged to poor and marginalized sections of the society. The UP Health Minister denying shortage of oxygen to be main cause of death shamelessly said to media: “Children die in August every year. What’s new in this?"
The National Convenor of Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Ambarish Rai said, "This unfortunate incident has exposed the deplorable health conditions and weak public health care system prevailing not only in Gorakhpur but across the country. He added that severely underfunded Public Health Care System, hegemony of Pro-profit market forces on health services and deliberate negligence of the government is responsible for the tragic Incident.’’
Data from health department shows 62 out of 1,000 children born in Gorakhpur die before turning one. Against this, 48 out of 1,000 die in UP and 40 out of 1,000 in India. With IMR of 62.90 and 64.60, Zambia and South Sudan give competition to Gorakhpur. While India's under-5 mortality rate is 50, against UP's rate of 62, Gorakhpur's fairs badly with 76. The high IMR is because of factors like malnutrition, incomplete immunisation, open defecation and unsafe drinking water."
The fourth National Family Health Survey figures, state 35% kids in Gorakhpur are underweight, while 42% are stunted. The district also lags on the immunisation front -- one in three kids doesn't complete the mandatory immunisation cycle. Only 35% households have toilets which suggests high rate of open defecation, resulting in 25% kids in the district suffering from diarrhoea.
Malnourished children have lower resistance to infection and are more likely to die from common childhood ailments like diarrhoeal diseases and respiratory infections and for those who survive, frequent illness saps their nutritional status. 70% encephalitis-hit kids were malnourished. Children have died in Gorakhpur for years and there is no dearth of data to stress the dire need to save them. This also brings forth that the public health care system is severely underfunded and lacks basic infrastructure.
In this context the CM is accountable to such deep apathy towards children, especially poor children, and also considering Gorakhpur is his constituency. The government cannot get scot free by alleging other reasons for this tragedy despite various evidences to show that shortage of oxygen led to the tragedy. Instead of accepting responsibility for this brutal killing, media and other officials have been accused of politicizing the issue.
RTE Forum strongly demands that the families of the children who died should be compensated with immediate effect and responsible officers and concerned ministers should be held accountable and appropriate action should be taken for this heinous act of negligence. A judicial enquiry by an independent Commission headed by retired judges should also be constituted for expediting the judicial processes.
RTE Forum expresses our deep condolence and register protest against deliberate negligence and cruelty which killed so many children. We urge all child rights and human rights organizations to stage protest against such cruelty and call for justice as we celebrate Independence Day.
---
*RTE Forum

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.