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Crib Deaths in West Bengal; Death Toll Mounts to 13

West Bengal is again haunted with the crib death, which continues unabated with a death toll reaching at least 13 infant deaths since Wednesday at the Malda Medical College and Hospital, an official said on Friday.

Medical Superintendent and Vice Principal M.A. Rashid told IANS: "Since Wednesday, 13 babies have died. All of them were underweight and brought in very critical condition."

Rashid has said special measures including arranging for 24 hours availability of neonatal experts are being taken to prevent more deaths. He said the hospital, which frequently witnesses crib deaths, is well equipped to face any kind of exigencies but the deaths were happening mostly because the babies are often brought in critical condition.

He added: "The biggest problem is that most babies are brought here in critical condition or half dead. Currently, more than 250 babies are undergoing treatment… people need to timely bring in the child."

The hospital accounted for at least 20 crib deaths in October while casualties were also reported in June and July. In January, more than a dozen babies had died.

The hospital has frequently witnessed infant deaths in the recent past. In July, as per reports, more than a dozen babies died, while in June at least 19 infants died of encephalitis. In January, over a dozen crib deaths occurred.

According to reports, in 2011, 109 babies had died at Malda Medical College and Hospital, and 48 at BC Roy in 2011 but the government seemed to have done nothing except creating a task-force. Unless primary healthcare and secondary healthcare units are revamped, crib deaths will reportedly continue.

(With inputs from IANS)

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