Fire breaks out at Senegal hospital, 11 babies killed

Eleven newborn babies perished in a hospital fire in Tivaouane, Senegal’s western city, according to the country’s president.

Macky Sall, a Senegalese journalist, stated on Twitter shortly before midnight that 11 infants had died in the fire.

He wrote, “I have just learnt with grief and dismay of the loss of 11 newborn infants in the fire at the public hospital’s neonatal section.”

“I extend my heartfelt condolences to their moms and families,” Sall said.

According to Senegalese politician Diop Sy, the tragedy occurred at Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital near Tivaouane’s transportation hub, and was triggered by “a short circuit.”

“The flames immediately spread,” he claimed.

“Three newborns were spared,” claimed Demba Diop, the city’s mayor.

The Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital was just inaugurated, according to local media.

Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, the health minister, said he will return to Senegal immediately after attending a meeting with the World Health Organization in Geneva.

“This is a really bad and unpleasant scenario,” he stated on the radio. “An inquiry into what transpired is underway.”

The catastrophe in Tivaouane follows numerous comparable events at public health institutions in Senegal, where there is a significant discrepancy in healthcare services between urban and rural areas.

In late April, a fire broke out at a hospital in the northern town of Linguere, killing four newborn infants. An electrical problem with an air conditioning unit in the maternity hospital, according to the mayor of that town.

The disaster occurred more than a month after the country grieved the loss of a pregnant lady who had waited for a Caesarean section in vain.

Astou Sokhna, a lady in suffering, had arrived to a hospital in the northern city of Louga. Her desire for a C-section had been denied by the personnel, who claimed that it was not scheduled.

She died 20 hours after arriving on April 1st.

Sokhna’s death sparked a nationwide outcry against Senegal’s failing public health system, and health minister Sarr admitted two weeks later that the tragedy may have been prevented.

Three midwives who were on duty the night Sokhna died were sentenced to six months in jail suspended on May 11 by the High Court of Louga for “failure to help a person in danger” in connection with her case.

After the “atrocious” deaths of the four newborns in Linguere, Amnesty International’s Senegal director Seydi Gassama stated his organization has asked for an investigation and enhancement of neonatology services in hospitals across Senegal.

With the latest tragedy on Wednesday, Amnesty International “urges the government to establish an impartial commission of investigation to assess blame and prosecute the perpetrators, regardless of their position in the state machinery,” he tweeted.

Mamadou Lamine Diallo, an opposition legislator, was equally outraged by the Tivaouane fire that murdered the newborns.

“More infants burnt in a public hospital… this is inexcusable,” he tweeted.

“We sympathize with the bereaved family to whom we extend our condolences. It’s time to stop.”

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