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Three more children die in Thar

Three more children die in Thar

MITHI: Three more children died of waterborne diseases and malnutrition in drought-hit Tharparkar on Thursday, raising the death toll of newborn babies to 20 over the past week.

An infant died at the Mithi Civil Hospital while two other kids lost their lives while being taken to hospitals from their villages in remote areas.

Many parents and relatives of ailing children who had arrived at the Mithi hospital complained to journalists that the hospital administration was forcing them to take their babies to the Hyderabad Civil Hospital so that it could deflect some of the pressure being heaped on it by exclusive media coverage of children’s deaths.

A doctor at the Mithi hospital told Dawn that three children were referred to Hyderabad because of their serious condition on Thursday.

According to a statement issued by the hospital, 14 children have so far died at the hospital while the remaining ones died in different areas of Thar.

Meanwhile, the local administration had made preparations for the expected visit of some members of the Sindh cabinet including adviser to the chief minister Maula Bux Chandio, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah and others but the ministers postponed their visit.

Judge holds secretaries of health, finance responsible for babies deaths Mian Fayaz Rabbani, senior civil judge of Mithi who has been assigned the additional duty to inspect relief operation in the desert region, has held provincial secretaries of health and finance responsible for the recurring deaths of children in the district.

If the departments concerned had taken precautionary measures after the advent of winter, the deaths could have been prevented, he said.

He warned if the government did not extend contract of 66 doctors posted in Thar the situation would get worse. Tharparkar DHO Arjan Das had written to his high-ups calling for posting doctors and other staff in 44 dispensaries but no step had been taken so far on his recommendation, he said.

He regretted that despite recurring deaths of children over the past three years only one nursery had been set up in the district to keep prematurely born children.

He advised the department to establish more nurseries in remote towns of the district like Nagarparkar, Chhachhro, Dahli, Diplo and others to help save babies.

Mr Rabbani said that two trauma centres built in Diplo and Nagarparkar towns at a huge cost of Rs 20 million were of no use in the absence of required staff.

He disclosed that not a single person had been vaccinated against Hepatitis B and C since the vaccine was not available in the district and the health department was so lethargic it had so far not taken its notice and arranged for it.

He stressed the need for releasing funds for purchasing medicines and posting doctors in all health units of the vast district to avoid more deaths of children.

The judge said that he was collecting details from the functionaries concerned of the health department including the civil surgeon of the Mithi Civil Hospital and preparing a detailed report to be submitted later to the registrar of Sindh High Court.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2016

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