MHRC serves notice to Meghalaya Govt. on deaths of 877 newborns



The Meghalaya Human Rights Commission (MHRC), on Tuesday, issued notices to the health and family welfare and social welfare departments on the deaths of 877 newborns and 61 pregnant women between April and July.

The issue has raised serious questions regarding the violation of human rights as Article 21 of the Constitution mandates for the protection of life and personal liberty of every citizen, the MHRC stated.

According to a petition filed by social activist Agnes Kharshiing, the MHRC directed the Commissioner and Secretary of Health Services, and the Additional Chief Secretary of the Social Welfare Department to respond to the allegations and to submit a detailed report within 30 days.

“We need to ensure that such cases are minimised as much as possible. Right to life applies to all, and newborn infants and pregnant women are no less. They need to be protected at all costs,” Kharshiing said.

Meanwhile, the Director of Health Services, Dr. Aman Warr, said that the deaths of the newborns were due to lack of medical attention, care, pneumonia and birth asphyxia.

“It is a matter of concern that the infant and maternal mortality rate have risen sharply as the entire state health machinery is diverted to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Warr said.


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