The Meghalaya Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has sought detailed report from the Health Department and Social Welfare Department regarding the death of 877 infants and 61 pregnant women due to diseases other than coronavirus in the State as they were not admitted in hospitals and health care centres for institutional delivery.
The MHRC passed the order on a complaint lodged by social activist Agnes Kharshiing.
Kharshiing in her petition stated that the right to health is integral to the right to life and the government has a constitutional obligation to provide health facilities.
She also alleged that in this case, the fundamental rights under Article 21 are being violated by the government.
Taking cognizance of the matter, the MHRC asked the Commissioner and Secretary, Health Department and Additional Chief Secretary, Social Welfare Department to answer the allegations made by Kharshiing and submit a detailed report within 30 days.
The MHRC also fixed November 20 for hearing of the matter.
“On perusal of the papers on record, the Commission is deeply concern with the matter which raises serious issues of violation of human rights as Article 21 of the Constitution mandates for protection of life and personal liberty to every citizen and right to life and health is a fundamental right and it is the paramount duty of the State to protect and safeguard such rights of any individual,” the MHRC said in the order.
The MHRC also asked the two departments to provide details on the name of the deceased mothers with age, their address and contact number, date of expiry, place of death, cause of death, health details from first check up to delivery, last health centre visited by the deceased mothers, and action taken by health activists and health centres based on last check up.
At least 61 pregnant women and 877 newborns have died in Meghalaya from April to July for want of admission to hospitals and also due to lack of medical attention. The fatalities were due to diseases other than Covid-19.
The newborn deaths were due to lack of medical attention, care, pneumonia and birth asphyxia while the pregnant women died during childbirth because they were not admitted to hospitals or health centres for institutional delivery.
This is according to the report provided by Director of Health Services Aman War to media persons on August 29 this year.