Branded with hot iron as ‘cure’, another baby dies in Madhya Pradesh | Bhopal News – Times of India

BHOPAL: In the fourth such horror in just three weeks, a newborn died after being branded with red hot iron in a bizarre ritual to ‘cure’ pneumonia.
“It was her mother who, in superstition, branded the three-month baby to treat her which worsened her pneumonia and her health,” Umaria district programme officer, women and child development department, Manmohan Singh Kushram told TOI.
Officials identified the victim as Ahana, daughter of Deepu and Asmiya Baiga of Manpur block in Umaria district.
Branded on the abdomen several times, her health deteriorated rapidly and she was admitted to Shahdol district hospital, 30km away, last Friday.
Four babies killed, officials slow to respond
She died during treatment in the wee hours of Tuesday.
All four babies who suffered and died this way are from the Baiga tribe, classified as a ‘particularly vulnerable group’. The administration, however, has been slow to respond.
On December 19 last year, when the first of the four deaths was reported (a three-month old baby), officials said that they would intensify awareness campaigns and health check-ups to prevent such incidents, but evidently more needs to be done.
Ten days later, a 45-day-old infant, who was also singed to treat pneumonia, died. The third death happened on New Year’s Day, and just over a week later, baby Ahana died the same way.
Branding with hot iron is a common practice in these parts. Last year, after a string of such deaths in Shahdol, the administration had suspended two officials, while identifying eight quacks who carried out this ritual and took action against them.

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