The mortality rate of infants in G.B. Pant Hospital, the only children’s hospital in Srinagar, has increased in the past few months in the lack of adequate facilities and beds.
In spite of this, the construction of a 250-bed children’s hospital at Dewan Bagh, Karan Nagar, envisioned by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, was stopped midway. The BJP-PDP government had in a Cabinet meeting instead decided to raise two more stories dedicated for children over the new maternity hospital being constructed at Bemina on the outskirts of Srinagar.
However, despite repeated reminders from G.P. Pant Hospital requesting for a separate hospital to minimise infant deaths, the state government authorities are yet to provide any relief. “The G.B. Pant Hospital has reached its limit in terms of patient load and number of referrals it can handle. Infant deaths are bound to increase as after the 2014 floods, we have not been able to set right all wards and equipment,” a senior pediatric consultant in the hospital told The Sunday Guardian.
With infant deaths on the rise, civil society members and many doctors have appealed to Governor N.N. Vohra to reconsider the decision of shelving such an important pediatric hospital for Srinagar. The pitch for a separate 500-bed pediatric hospital is becoming louder as the G.B. Pant Hospital is facing staff and infrastructural problems after the 2014 floods.
According to the hospital staff, the total bed strength is 90 and at present only 60 beds are operational. They are yet to receive new equipment after the floods, especially ventilators to save infants.