16 more deaths in UP's BRD Medical College: Yogi Adityanath's potshots at Kerala's healthcare ring hollow

Sixteen children, including 10 infants, died at the Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College in Gorakhpur during the last 24 hours, authorities said on Monday.

Of the children who died, ten were admitted in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) while six were in the paediatric ICU.

According to reports, 20 patients — including six from Deoria, two from Kushinagar, four each from Gorakhpur and Maharajganj, and one patient each from Basti and Balrampur — afflicted with encephalitis have been admitted to the hospital in the last 24 hours.

As many as three dozen patients, mostly affected by encephalitis, were being treated at BRD Medical College. Five patients from Bihar were also being treated there, doctors said.

Officials said that 1,470 patients have been admitted to the BRD Medical College since January this year, adding that a total of 310 have died.

File image of Yogi Adityanath. PTI

File image of Yogi Adityanath. PTI

The BRD Medical College hit the headlines earlier in August when 63 children, including infants, died within a span of one week due to disruption of oxygen supply by the vendor.

As the news of the deaths broke, opposition political parties had slammed the Uttar Pradesh government for the health crisis. While Congress president Sonia Gandhi remarked that innocent children fell prey to gross negligence on the part of the authorities, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi held the BJP government responsible for the deaths. Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh had called for the sacking of the health minister and concerned officials in the wake of the tragedy.

After the Gorakhpur deaths, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh had been placed at the receiving end of searing questions for the first time after the NDA won the election in March 2017 with a thumping majority.

Yet, this has not stopped Adityanath from playing up Uttar Pradesh's health indicators in Kerala, a state which leaves all other Indian states far behind on that front. He claimed that while Uttar Pradesh effectively countered dengue and chikungunya, Kerala saw over 300 deaths due to dengue, as per a report by Business Standard. Adityanath claimed that the state government in Kerala has failed to provide basic necessities to people in the state.

The following statistics give an idea of the disparity between Uttar Pradesh and Kerala. If Kerala were a country, its infant mortality rate (6) would be comparable to the United States, while if Uttar Pradesh were a country, its infant mortality rate (64) would be the same as the strife-torn African country of Mauritiana—according to an IndiaSpend analysis.

The irony of such a situation would have been laughable had it not been so tragic. The fact that Gorakhpur is a constituency nurtured by Adityanath for five terms only makes it worse. For instance, a report by the National Health Mission of Uttar Pradesh shows that in Gorakhpur, only 11 Public Health Centres (PHCs) out of 64 are functioning on a 24x7 basis. Further, while there were 23 full-time sanctioned posts for medical officers on 31 December, 2015, only four of these were functioning.

Clearly, the Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh has little to show in terms of health indicators when compared to Kerala. While the saffron leader's recent visit to the southern state was high on election rhetoric, the aggressive political posturing had little backing in terms of data.

With inputs from IANS

Updated Date: Oct 12, 2017 13:55 PM

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