New baby unit and beds for Malda

Malda, Nov. 29: The health department will set up a mother and childcare hub and add 10 beds to the neonatal ward of the Malda Medical College and Hospital.

A two-member team that visited the facility last night said there were "no shortcomings" on the part of the doctors over crib deaths at the hospital.

Thirty-two newborns died in the medical college in the past eight days, sources said.

Tridib Banerjee, a Calcutta-based child specialist and chairman of the health task force, said: "We have recommended the addition of beds to the neonatal ward and the state will spend Rs 16 crore to set up a mother and childcare hub."

The neonatal ward has 40 beds now.

"A six-storied mother and childcare hub will be completed in two years. We are also going to have Sick Newborn Care Units in rural hospitals (in Malda) so that the pressure on the medical college is reduced," said Asit Biswas, the spokesperson for the health department, who accompanied Banerjee for the visit yesterday.

"We are going to increase the number of beds in the neo-natal ward from 40 to 50," said medical college principal Ujjwal Bhadra.

"Most babies died of septicaemia and respiratory problems and all off them were underweight. This year, the mortality rate is far less than that of last year. There were no shortcomings on the part of the doctors," Biswas said.