“I have no name;
I am but two days old.”
What shall I call thee?
“I happy am,
Joy is my name.”
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty joy!
Sweet joy, but two days old.
Sweet Joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while;
Sweet joy befall thee!

In this poem “Infant Joy”, William Blake presents a sweet picture of an innocent and vulnerable infant, whose existence depends upon protection and care by others.

I was reminded of this poem as I read this morning about the failure of our society to give protection to the seven new-born babies who died yesterday, at Old Government Hospital in Vijayawada city, Andhra Pradesh .

‘The parents alleged that the babies died due to faulty incubators, failure of the oxygen system and the negligence of the doctors.

The parents alleged that out of the eleven incubators at the hospital, only four were functioning.

An additional factor is that junior doctors in government-run hospitals are currently boycotting services for increase in stipend.

Another shocking incident took place earlier this year, when five infants were burnt alive and five more critically injured an electric short circuit caused a fire in the Neonatalogy Unit of Government Rajindra Hospital at Patiala.

Within minutes the fire turned ” the entire incubator and phototherapy unit into ashes.”

Last year an infant died of burns when an incubator caught fire in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Shardaben Chimanlal Municipal General Hospital at Ahmedabad.

There are a few more such incidents we could list here. All these took place in government-run hospitals.

I just read this post at ‘india tweets’ which relates a similar shocking incident , highlighting the dismal state of health care in government- run hospitals.

Are there really no funds to ensure that patients receive at least the minimum adequate health-care at government hospitals? Are the funds that are allotted, making their way into bureaucratic and ministerial pockets? Or is the problem merely apathy and lack of will?

Stories about sub-standard facilities and negligence in hospitals are always disturbing, but even more so when they involve the death of infants.

We have no right to boast of our super-speciality private hospitals, our world-class educational institutes, the sprawling campuses of our IT companies and our centrally air-conditioned multi-story malls.

Of what importance are these, when we cannot provide even the very basic health care to our infants?

We are allowing a few to live in luxury while denying existence to others before their lives are even a few days old. We are destroying the future of our country just as soon as it starts taking shape.

edited to add :- ‘Hospital in-charge Superintendent SB Lal confirmed five deaths –– four in the general ward and one in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit. Stating that one or two casualties a day are ‘‘common,’’ he said the cause of the Sunday deaths would be probed.’