Islamabad, Sep 30 (IANS) The deaths of at least nine newborn children in a single day at a hospital in Pakistan has led to concerns over negligence and dearth of facilities in paediatrics centres in the country, media reports said Sunday.
The Chandka Medical College Hospital in Larkana in Sindh province confirmed Saturday the deaths of the nine newborn children in 12 hours at its paediatrics department, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Health Minister Sagheer Ahmed have ordered an inquiry into the incident.
Hospital sources told the daily that negligence and lack of accountability coupled with dearth of facilities at the hospital caused the deaths.
Abdul Sattar Shaikh, resident medical officer at the hospital, said the deaths occurred due to birth asphyxia, pre-term, septicaemia and low weight abnormalities.
He, however, said the hospital had a capacity of 40 beds but was accommodating 160 patients at a time.
"We cannot refuse critical cases coming from far-flung areas," another doctor said, adding that four to eight children died at the hospital daily.
"The risk of deaths rises due to under-staffing and overcrowding," he said.
He said five patients were kept on one bed in the emergency department, raising the risk of infection too.
Xinhua said the babies died due to interruptions in oxygen supply caused by power breakdown.
The hospital administration tried to start the power generators but they were out of order. Electricity could not be resumed till Saturday afternoon and the babies continued to die one after the other due to the absence of backup oxygen tanks.
Afsar Bhutt, medical superintendent of the hospital, said the infants did not die due to administrative fault or negligence on the part of doctors but due to late arrival at the hospital.