Over sixty children dying in a government-run hospital in Gorakhpur over a 48-hour period, allegedly after a private firm contracted to supply liquid oxygen to the hospital failed to honour the contract talks of callousness of the official attitude towards human life overall prevailing in the country. Of these, seven deaths were reported since Thursday night – three in the neonatal ward, two in the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) ward and two in the general ward. The other 23 deaths were reported since midnight of August 9 – they comprised 14 deaths in the neonatal ward, three in the AES ward and six in the general ward. The sordid episode also tells the state of health and corruption prevailing in the system. The Uttar Pradesh Government was quick in denying the deaths due to lack of oxygen supply. Besides this there has been no reaction from the Yogi Aditynath government and it said the casualties were due to various illnesses. It’s a matter of great shame for UP Chief Minister. Considering Yogi Adityanath is both Member of Parliament and Chief Minister he must take moral responsibility and step down, so should his Health Minister. On the other hand as ritualistically a Magisterial probe has been ordered to ascertain the cause of deaths. The incident has caused a critical situation in the hospital where oxygen supply has been affected and the hospital had to rely on using jumbo oxygen cylinders since Thursday night as the liquid oxygen supply had collapsed. The hospital lies in the home turf of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the incident comes two days after he himself inspected the hospital during his tour. Gorakhpur has been in the grip of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and acute encephalitis syndrome for four decades. Records show that hundreds die every year in eastern UP due to encephalitis. Gorakhpur is the epicentre encephalitis induced deaths. According to official figures, around 25,000 children have died since 1978 due to the two types of encephalitis.
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