Kota: Nine more infants admitted at the JK Lon hospital in Kota have died, taking the death toll to 100 for the month. This incident has triggered opposition criticism and a visit by a team from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

According to a report by the superintendent of JK Lon Hospital, where all the deaths occurred, 77 children had died till December 24.

On December 30, four children died while five died on December 31, all mainly due to low birth weight, hospital superintendent Dr Suresh Dulara said.

Hospital authorities maintained that the number of deaths reported at the health facility in 2019 has witnessed a decline since 2014 when a total of 1,198 children died.

The nursing in-charge of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which specialises in looking after premature and sick newborns, has been replaced, Dr Dulara said.

Efforts for upgradation and maintenance of equipment at the hospital have been put in place, following directions by the Congress government in the state.

Medical College Principal Dr Vijay Sardana said order has been issued for installation of central oxygen supply line at the hospital and the work would be completed within the next 15 days.

The direction was issued a day after a BJP parliamentary team comprising of MPs Locket Chatterjee, Kanta Kardam and Jaskaur Meena visited the hospital and expressed concern over its infrastructure.

Earlier, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had served a show-cause notice to the state government. “Pigs were found roaming inside the campus of the hospital,” its chairperson Priyank Kanoongo had said. A Rajasthan government committee ruled that the infants were given the right treatment.

On December 28, grieving for the recent child deaths at JK Lon Hospital, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that this year, the number is actually the lowest. “Every child death is unfortunate. But there have been 1,300 to 1,500 deaths in a year in the past. This year, the figure is 900. But why 900? Not one child should die. But there are many child deaths recorded every day in every hospital in the state and the country. It’s not new. Action is being taken,” the CM had asserted.

(With PTI inputs)