Senegalese President Informs Eleven Newborn Babies Die In A Hospital Fire In Tivaouane

Senegalese President Macky Sall on Wednesday said eleven newborn babies died in a hospital fire in the western Senegalese city of Tivaouane, reported The BBC.

Just before midnight in Senegal, Sall announced on Twitter that 11 infants had died in the blaze.

“I have just learned with pain and dismay about the deaths of 11 newborn babies in the fire at the neonatal department of the public hospital,” the Senegalese president wrote on Twitter.

He expressed his deepest sympathy to the infants’ mothers and their families.

The incident happened at Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh hospital, which was newly inaugurated, in the transport hub of Tivaouane. According to initial reports, the fire was caused by a short circuit, Senegalese politicians said.

Three babies were saved from the fire, said the city’s mayor, Demba Diop Sy.

“This situation is very unfortunate and extremely painful,” Senegalese Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr said from Geneva, where he was attending a World Health Organization meeting.

He said an investigation was underway and he would be cutting his trip short to return to Senegal immediately.

The incident has sparked a wave of indignation on social media over the state of the country’s healthcare provision.

Rights group Amnesty International has urged the Senegalese government to create an “independent commission of inquiry to determine responsibility and punish the culprits, no matter the level they are at in the state apparatus,” country director Seydi Gassama said in a tweet.

The rights group called for all of Senegal’s neo-natal wards to be inspected after a similar incident occurred in the northern town of Linguère last year when a fire broke out at a hospital’s maternity ward and four newborn babies were killed.  At the time, the mayor said there was an electrical fault in the air conditioning unit of the maternity ward.

Wednesday’s tragedy also follows the death of Astou Sokhna, who died while reportedly begging for a Caesarean during her 20-hour labor ordeal. She died before she was able to get medical attention and her unborn child also died.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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