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A peep in Gorakhpur’s BRD hospital where cows and dogs frequent the corridors

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What prevails in the area of Gorakhpur hospital?

Dogs run around the corridors. Cows roam near the emergency section. The stench of urine has become the identity of it as it doesn’t leave you even inside the wards.

80 children died in this hospital in a single week. The desperate parents have more faith in the healing powers of a tree.

A peepal just outside Ward Number 100 at the Baba Raghav Das (BRD) hospital and medical college has its trunk smeared with bright vermilion. Ward 100 is where the encephalitis patients are treated.

When the disease is most widespread, parents can be seen offering prayers to the tree. In a dirty and understaffed hospital, hundreds of children die every month.

It has been estimated that on an average about 10 to 20 children die at BRD hospital everyday during monsoon. It is the time when viral and other infections spread faster.

Between January 1 and August 22, a total of 6,247 children were admitted to the paediatric care ward; 625 suffered from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. Of these, 158 died.

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Parts of the hospital flood with every heavy shower. Over-crowding is an obvious problem, with two to three children sharing each bed and even some incubators, raising cross-infection risk.

3,000 to 5,000 patients are treated by close to 300 doctors everyday. In a Comptroller and Auditor report published in June, blatant shortages in hospital equipment were exposed. 27.21% of the required clinical equipment as mandated by the Medical Council of India were missing from the hospital, despite of having adequate funds.

In addition to overcrowding by patients, the attendants also pose the same problem. The pediatric ward is milling with attendants who are heedless to warnings, that too many people and footwear could cause infections.

The deaths of 23 children in 24 hours in the hospital is not just the failure of BRD hospital in Gorakhpur, but a collective let down by the primary health care services in the country. It would need immediate intervention by the health ministry to bring to fore a viable solution to this worrying mess.

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