Hospital deaths at Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College in Gorakhpur have come back to haunt the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh almost one and half years after a similar incident – wherein close to 60 infants had died in August 2017 – created a national uproar.
In the same hospital, over 161 deaths have been reported due to "encephalitis" in nearly 11 months, an RTI revealed recently.
According to the RTI, a total of 997 patients were admitted in BRD Hospital, out of which 161 died due to "encephalitis" between January 1, 2018 to November 19, 2018, whereas 113 patients afflicted by "Japaneses encephalitis" were admitted, of which 15 died. Surprisingly, the hospital does not have any data on deaths due to acute viral fever. The RTI was posted on Twitter by Sanjay Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP and national spokesperson of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
गोरखपुर BRD मेडिकल कॉलेज में मासूम बच्चों की मौत का सिलसिला जारी है लेकिन गोदी मीडिया कुम्भ के प्रचार में मस्त है देखिये ये आरटीआई की सूचना दिमाग़ी बुखार से 161 बच्चों की मौत हुई है लेकिन योगी जी अपना पाप धुलने के लिये गंगा में डुबकी लगा रहे हैं। pic.twitter.com/ZECpQX9k3x
— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) February 5, 2019
Speaking with Newsclick, Singh said, "(Narendra) Modi at Centre and Yogi in Uttar Pradesh are adept at manipulating data to hide their crimes. It is a sad state of affairs that the deaths of children are not being prevented despite Gorakhpur being the home turf of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. This RTI was received on December 12, 2018,@ he said, adding that the death of children had become a joke for the Yogi-led government.
Singh pointed out that it was this very Adityanath who had been raising the issue of Japanese Encephalitis deaths in Parliament. "Since 20-25 years, he has been raising the same issue when he was not in power. Now, when he is in power, the situation remains same, which is a shame for this government."
In 2018, more than 907 children died between January and June, of which 63 died due to encephalitis, while the others died due to various reasons. The highest number of deaths (587) have taken place in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), while 320 children died in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). “Sixty-three of those who died in the PICU were encephalitis patients, Newsclick had reported.
Also Read : Children Continue to Die at BRD Medical College, 907 Deaths Since January This Year
Flaying the dismal primary care facilities, Dr. Kafeel Khan, the suspended paediatrician of BRD Medical College Hospital told Newsclick, "Yogi government is falsely claiming that they have controlled the menace caused by encephalitis. They are not releasing the real data. BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur, has stopped giving encephalitis data after the BRD oxygen tragedy. This RTI has exposed the Yogi government,@ he said, adding that the government should work to improve the primary healthcare system which is in shambles, instead of hiding behind false claims.
Also Read : NGT Fines BRD Medical College Rs 5 Crore For Improper Disposal of Medical Waste
Khan, who who spent around nine months in jail after death of children due to alleged shortage of oxygen, said "It is the same lie that was told in the BRD oxygen tragedy that no deaths had happened because of shortage of oxygen. The BRD oxygen tragedy happened on August 10, 2017, which killed many children. The reason was stoppage of supply of liquid oxygen due to non-payment of dues to the vendor. To hide government failure, I was made scapegoat and imprisoned for nine months,” he alleged, adding that he left no stone unturned to save the lives of children that day. The Allahabad High Court also categorically stated that there was no evidence of medical negligence against me, and I was nowhere involved with the oxygen tender."
He said he was still struggling to survive as his suspension had not been revoked, and cited a recent RTI that strengthens his case.
"In a recent RTI, the government has accepted that there was shortage of liquid oxygen for 54 hours in BRD medical College on August 10, 11, 12 and 17 and Dr. Kafeel Khan indeed arranged jumbo oxygen cylinders to save dying kids. Even in High Court affidavit, the UP Government has accepted shortage of oxygen supply. The Honourable High Court in his judgment on April 30, 2018 observed that there was shortage of liquid oxygen due to abrupt disruption of liquid oxygen supply which happened due to non-payment of dues to the supplier.”
During the Akhilesh Yadav regime, Adityanath had slammed the government over the increasing deaths of children, citing the health bulletin which the BRD administration used to publish every day. But ever since the Yogi Adityanath government came to power, the bulletin has been stopped, a story that was first broken by Newsclick.
Also Read : No Health Bulletin, Data Available from BRD Medical College for a Year
Newsclick approached BRD Medical College principal Ganesh Kumar, for his comments. He said: "I do not know about the RTI so I cannot comment but the situation is much better than before."
One Year of Gorakhpur's BRD Tragedy: No Compensation, No Care