Ranchi, Aug 31 (IANS) More than 800 children have died in two hospitals in Jharkhand this year, with most deaths blamed on encephalitis, officials and sources said.
A total of 660 children have died at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi, its Director B.L. Sherwal said.
Another 164 deaths have been reported in the last four months from Jamshedpur's Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital.
"This year 4,855 children were admitted and 4,195 were discharged after being cured," Sherwal said. "(A total of) 660 children could not be saved. We have treated and cured 86.40 per cent of children."
He added that 103 of the deaths took place in August.
Sources at RIMS said 51 per cent children died due to encephalitis, 17 per cent due to pneumonia and the rest due to malaria, snake bite, breathing problems and being underweight.
The sources said 1,118 children died last year at RIMS.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das has reportedly asked Additional Chief Secretary of the Health Department, Sudhir Tripathy, to personally probe the deaths which took place in the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital and in Gumla's Sadar Hospital also.
Seven deaths have been reported this year from Sadar Hospital, allegedly due to medical negligence.
RIMS Superintendent A.S.K. Chaudhary has been removed after the deaths of so many children triggered an uproar. Vivek Kashyap has been appointed in his place.
RIMS Director Sherwal has urged the Health Department to relieve him from the post.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Jharkhand government over the death of 52 children at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Jamshedpur in one month.