Eight infants die in Pakistan as hospital air conditioning unit breaks down

In an incident which shocked the nation, at least eight infants died of heat after the air-conditioning units broke down in a hospital in Sahiwal, Pakistan.

As parents and their friends lodged protests outside the hospital, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has taken notice of the incident and ordered immediate action. He has also directed the provincial health secretary and the Sahiwal commissioner to carry out a thorough probe into the incident and submit a report.

Pakistani media reported early today that five infants had passed away due to heat, when the air-conditioner ran down at the Sahiwal’s District Headquarters Hospital However, the death toll reportedly rose to eight during the last 24 hours due to extremely hot weather conditions in the state.

According to Deputy Commissioner Sahiwal Mian Zaman, temperatures rose in the children’s ward at the hospital,  resulting in the deaths of children. Temperature in Sahiwal, which is located about 180 Km from Lahore, increased to 46 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

The deputy commissioner has written a letter to the provincial government informing them of the incident and said they have initiated an inquiry into the incident. Spokesperson of the Punjab health department has said they have formed a committee to probe the incident and will present a report after conducting an investigation.

The chief minister has further directed that a comprehensive investigation be done and those responsible should be brought to justice. He directed them to take action against those found responsible for the death of children.

Additional health secretary Rafaqat Ali also said that statements of the staffers at the ward have been recorded and a report would be sent to the health secretary upon completion of the probe this evening.

Dr Shahid Nazeer, medical superintendent of the medical facility, said the children died after an air-conditioner stopped functioning amid hot weather conditions. He denied reports that the children died owing to alleged negligence on the part of doctors.

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