Investigation ordered after 53 babies die at Indian hospital

2015-08-31 12:08


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New Delhi - At least 53 babies died in less than two weeks at a state-run hospital in eastern India, sparking protests over alleged negligence, officials said on Monday.

The deaths at the Child Centre in Orissa state's Cuttack city, occurred over the past 11 days.

A team of experts visited the hospital at the weekend to investigate the problem, Health Department official Surjo Misra said.

Several families protested at the hospital, situated near state capital Bhubaneshwar, alleging negligence by hospital staff.

Misra said the hospital was a referral centre and accepted many newborns as transfers from remote areas in the region.

The hospital receives more critical case transfers than other hospitals because of its large size, leading it to report more infant deaths, Misra said.

India's infant mortality rate in 2012 was 44 deaths for every 1 000 live births, or 25% higher than the world average of 35, according to World Bank data.

More than 1.4 million children are estimated to die before reaching their fifth birthday in India each year.

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