File photograph of Jorhat Medical College & Hospital

The Assam government has sent a team of medical experts to the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital following the reported death of 16 newborns in the hospital since last week.

Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that a team of experts including the Director of Medical Education, a UNICEF expert and a paediatric doctor from the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) will reach the Jorhat hospital to study the deaths.

“The problem was between November 1 and 6 when 15 newborns died in the hospital. Most babies who died in our hospital had some problems,” said Pranabjit Biswanath, who heads the Paediatrics department. One death took place on Friday.

“Some mothers arrived very late in the hospital just before delivery and some were born with very poor health condition. Some babies which died also had congenial diseases,” he said.

He said there was a manpower crisis in the hospital as 84 newborns had to be admitted in the paediatrics unit whose capacity was only 40. “But we tried our best to save the babies.”

Locals and parents of the some of the dead newborns alleged neglect by the doctors at the hospital.

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