Six infant deaths have been reported from the Medical College Hospital in Malda in West Bengal in the past 24 hours. This takes the toll to 19 deaths since Saturday.
The authorities said the infants were brought in a critical condition from the adjoining North and South Dinajpur districts and all of them were suffering from malnutrition.
"The infants were all underweight and born prematurely," an official said.
Besides, there was overcrowding at the paediatric ward which has a capacity of 46 beds but 156 infants and children had been admitted.
"The infants and children have their parents with them. So there are about 600 people always present in the paediatric ward and infection cannot be totally checked," the official said.
Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare AH Khan Choudhury has intervened and is monitoring the situation. The CMO visited the hospital to take stock of the situation.
According to The Times of India report Dr Asit Biswas, spokesperson of the state health department, said, "We have got information and the department concerned is looking into it." The chief medical officer of health (CMOH), Dr Bidhan Mishra, said that a meeting was scheduled with the hospital authorities. He also assured of holding meeting with the Medical College authority regarding this increasing crib death, the report said.
The same hospital had reported 27 infant deaths earlier in 2012.
The State government had established a Sick Neonatal Care Unit in the Malda Medical College and Hospital as a response to the large number of infant deaths. However, with the onset of winter, infant deaths have come back to haunt the hospital once again.
With PTI inputs