Chinese premier calls on sick infants

Xinhua article

Premier Wen

BEIJING, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday visited hospitals, communities and supermarkets in Beijing to see for himself the infants sickened by tainted milk powder and the milk market.

His first stop was Beijing Children’s Hospital, where many parents had brought their children for kidney tests.

Outside the consulting room, ultrasonic scan room and medical wards, Wen asked parents and children how they were faring.

At the ultrasonic scan room, 9-month-old Li Qianying, was lyingon the bed undergoing an examination by doctors.

“Don’t cry, and it will be over in minutes,” Wen told her, and asked a doctor about the little girl.

After hearing many doctors and nurses had been working around the clock, he thanked them and asked they gave “careful and patient care for the sick infants”.

As of Saturday noon, 1,008 children in Beijing had been diagnosed with kidney stones and received treatment in 91 municipal hospitals, Beijing Municipal Health Bureau said on Saturday.

More than 20 infants were discharged from Beijing Children’s Hospital.

Wen visited Chen Shijie at her home in Fuxingmen to inquire after her granddaughter. He was please to hear she was in good health.

“This incident made me feel sad, though many Chinese have been understanding. It disclosed many problems for government and company supervision of the milk sources, quality and marketing administration.

“The government will put more efforts into food security, taking the incident as a warning.”

When Chen’s daughter, Chen Yanhong, praised the government for the quality of the information released, he said “The government should be responsible for its people.

“What we are trying to do is to ensure no such event happens in future, by punishing those responsible leaders as well as enterprises. None of those companies with no professional ethnics or social morals will be let off,” Wen said to applause.

Later, Wen went to a supermarket and checked the milk products.

“We should check every batch of the milk powder and other milk products, and mark them so buyers can be assured of their quality.”

More than 6,200 infants had developed kidney stones and four infants have died after drinking baby formula tainted with melamine, a chemical illegally added to give false protein readings in tests.

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