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Newborn deaths spark investigation in India

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
India ranks 73rd in infant mortality rates in the world.
India ranks 73rd in infant mortality rates in the world.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Authorities investigate death of six newborns at hospital in southern India
  • Some parents blame deaths on faulty incubators and medical negligence
  • Every year, nearly 1.2 million newborns die in India, most within first few days after birth

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- Authorities are investigating the death of six newborns at a government hospital in southern India over allegations of equipment failure and staff negligence.

Doctors said the babies either had congenital defects or were premature, said K. Dharma Reddy, a top administrative official for Vijaywada city.

Some parents blamed the deaths -- five of them in the 24 hours since Saturday -- on faulty incubators and medical negligence, he said.

"We are appointing an inquiry committee. Stern action will be taken in case of negligence," Reddy added.

The hospital also would be upgraded if needed, he said.

In January, five newborns receiving treatment for jaundice at a government hospital in northern India died as a fire broke out in its phototherapy unit.

RELATED TOPICS
  • India

Every year, nearly 1.2 million newborns die in India, most within the first few days after birth, according to the government. Infections, prematurity and hypothermia are thought to be the leading causes.

India ranks 73rd in infant mortality rates in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook, with an estimated 30.15 deaths per thousand for 2009. By comparison, best-ranked Singapore has an estimated 2.31 deaths per thousand.

The United Kingdom has an estimated 4.85 deaths per thousand while the United States has an estimated 6.26 deaths per thousand.