Fact Finding: Sudden deaths of 11 Neonatal babies at Dharmapuri Government Hospital

Introduction:

On 14th November, 2014 11 new born babies died in the neonatal intensive care unit of Government Dharmapuri Medical college hospital. In the following days too, the same trend continued and several new born babies died. So Tamil Nadu Child Rights Protection Network constituted a fact finding team and they conducted fact finding on 22nd and 23rd of November, 2014

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Findings:     

  • Girls in and around Dharmapuri villages get married in very young age, that is in the age of 16, 17 & 18. Due to malnutrition the children born are very weak and die. Most of the Primary Health Centers in Dharmapuri are without basic facilities and that too cases death of the children born there. Doctors must be present in the primary Health centers round the clock. But in reality the doctor’s visit the PHC’s only for few hours a day and go to their private clinics. The nurses who attend the pregnant mothers do not give full details about their health. The medical checkups are also faulty. The nurses who have to go to pregnant women’s houses personally to check them up and give medicines are not doing their job properly. The health grain pack given to pregnant women at free of cost by the government does not reach them. In fact it is routed to fodder industries and billions of government money is being swindled through this racket. The young pregnant women who go to PHC’s where not given proper medical advice.
  • Most of the nurses working in PHC’s do not have the full knowledge and experience in handling delivery, child’s growth in the womb etc., and hence they are not able to give proper guidance to the pregnant women. Most of the young women do not have awareness about their health. Most of the women and their family members like to have a male child and hence they conceive again within short span of time without giving proper interval between the babies. This also hinders the women’s health and the children born are also very weak. The pregnant women were not given healthy food & that too cases infant’s death. The bed facilities in Dharmapuri G.H. are insufficient to the proposanate of admitted patients.
  • The children born at Dharmapuri are mostly between 1 to 2 kg’s and most of them are premature births. This also cases infant’s death. To receive the incentives given by the government to the PHC‘s the doctors and nurses in the PHC’s are not even referring the critical cases to the Dharmapuri G.H. in the beginning itself. So when the baby was born and when it is battling for life only it is sent to Dharmapuri G.H. Due to travel time and other medical reasons when the baby reaches Dharmapuri G.H. it becomes impossible for the Doctor’s in Dharmapuri G.H. to save the new born babies.

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Recommendations:

  • Campaign must be conducted about the ill effects of young marriage throughout Dharmapuri District. The government must take necessary steps to make sure that doctors are present round the clock in all the PHC’s of TN. The technician who does the scan for the pregnant women must be well-qualified and experienced one. The pregnant women must be given clear information about the scan results and other tests. The scan center must give a clear report about the status and the growth of the child. All the PHC’s should be equipped with ambulance to avoid time delay. In taking the baby and the mother to the hospitals in case of emergency. The health aspect the growth of the child must be documented properly. All the PHC’s must be equipped with all the necessary modern equipment’s. The government must setup one PHC for every 5 villages and the PHC’s must be at the center of all the five villages and it must be connected well by road. The government must take necessary steps to make sure that the health grain pack provided to the pregnant Women reaches them.