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Audit of baby deaths

Calcutta, Nov. 4: Mamata Banerjee has directed the health department to audit child deaths in all state-run hospitals so that steps can be taken to reduce infant mortality rate.

The chief minister has also asked health officials to improve infrastructure at maternity and paediatric wards in rural hospitals.

Health department officials said the shortage of doctors, nurses and Group D staff was the main hindrance in improving the infrastructure.

Speaking on the audit, an official said hospital authorities would have to mention the cause of each baby death and the treatment provided. “The authorities will also have to state if a baby was referred to a particular hospital from some other health care facility and whether the child had received treatment at the facility,” the official said.

Sanjoy Mitra, the principal secretary in the health department, said: “We have drawn up a plan to prevent the institutional deaths of newborns.” At a meeting with medical college principals today, Mitra said the accountability of employees should be increased.

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