Karnataka does not seem to be a safe place to be born in and government hospitals are the worst
Statistics back the grim reality: as many as 1,154 babies died in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) of government-run hospitals across the state between April and June 2014.
Karnataka Institute of Sciences, Hubballi, topped the charts with 154 deaths,followed by Cheluvamba hospital, Mysuru, with 126.
At Vanivilas Hospital, Bengaluru, the figure stood at 110.
Data on neonatal deaths in the state since 2012 has thrown up alarming revelations.
There were 4,852 infant deaths in 2013-14 and 4,403 in 2012-13.Of the 41,380 live births in these three hospitals between April and June 2014, 1,154 newborns didn't survive.
Dr C R Srinivasa Gowda, deputy director, child health, state health and family welfare department, attributes 33% of the deaths to premature birth, 33% to infections and 9% to congenital abnormalities.
Premature deliveries are associated with complications like low temperature,declining sugar levels and low birth weight.
The department is working on an Audit to bring down the mortality rate.
In 2012-13, the highest number of newborn deaths -1,072 of 14,699 live births -was recorded in Vanivilas Hospital.
The same year, 593 out of 9,382 infants died in KIMS.
Cheluvamba hospital witnessed 587 deaths out of 13, 319 live births.
In 2013-14 too, Vanivilas stood on top -704 out of the 15,912 babies born died.
In KIMS, the figure was 383 (9,283 live births) and Cheluvamba recorded 536 neonatal deaths (14,139 births).
According to Atul Kumar Tiwari, director, National Rural Health Mission, late referral is one of the reasons for neonatal deaths.
Serious cases are referred to government hospitals at the last minute, putting the baby's life at risk.
We have been conducting a child death audit, which shows that the mother's nutrition intake is one of the causes.
We provide nutritional food and tablets to pregnant women at anganwadis.But many women go to their maternal home for delivery .
Change of place affects their nutrition. The health department has no control over this.
Government hospitals lack manpower, especially paediatricians.
In 2013-14, newborn care corners were set up in 882 primary health centres, 187 child health centres, 146 taluk hospitals and 33 district-level hospitals.
1,000 neonatal deaths within a span of three months expose the poor state of government hospitals.
Proper and timely care could have prevented half of these deaths.
After the strike by doctors, it's time the government woke up to what's ailing its hospitals and took steps to provide medical care and deliver a safe future.