An RTI application has revealed that over 11000 children and infants have died in Shri Maharaja Gulab Singh, SMGS, Hospital of Jammu, in the last 15 years.
In a reply to the RTI application submitted by an activist Rohit Choudhary, the official statement read
“The total number of children expired in SMGS Hospital during the last 15 years is 11,420. The number of children admitted to the hospital for the period (since 2003) is 2,84,890”
This is a huge number considering the fact that the state government claims to have registered a decline in Infant Mortality Rate. The government maintains that the number of infant deaths have reduced from 26 to 24 per 1000 births.
In 2003, 14296 children admitted to the hospital out of which 652 died. Comparatively in 2017, 25971 children were admitted in the hospital, out of which 544 could not survive. Surely, the proportion of deaths per admission has declined, although the numbers are still significant.
Most deaths occurred in the year 2010, when 883 children died. With 843 and 845 deaths, the years 2012 and 2013 respectively, the numbers were equally disappointing.
According to a news report by The Tribune, “referral system” is cited as a major cause of chaotic situation in the hospital. A doctor on condition of anonymity, advocated for a comprehensive “referral policy” to bring down the morality rate.
The SMGS Hospital, a tertiary care unit, came into existence in 1940 when Maharaja Hari Singh, the last ruler of J&K who executed the Instrument of Accession in 1947, had laid its foundation. He christened it on his great-grandfather’s name as Maharaja Gulab Singh.