11 newborn babies have died in a tragic hospital fire in the west African nation of Senegal.
The fire erupted at the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in the transport hub of Tivaouane and is said to have been caused by faulty electrical wiring.
Senegalese President Macky Sall, said of the tragedy:
“I have just learned with pain and consternation the death of 11 newborn babies in the fire that occurred in the neonatology department of the Mme Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh hospital in Tivaouane. To their mothers and their families, I express my deepest sympathy.”
Three infants were saved from the fire.
Health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr has returned from the Davos meeting in Switzerland and said:
“This situation is very unfortunate and extremely painful,’ he said on radio. ‘An investigation is under way to see what happened.”
The building is said to have been newly built.
This is not the first hospital tragedy to hit the nation. 4 newborn babies were killed two months ago when a fire broke out at a hospital in the northern town of Linguere. Again, this was blamed on faulty electrics.
There has also been the high-profile recent case of a woman, Astou Sokhna, who died after being refused a c-section. Her death sparked outrage and protests across the country at what is said to be a very poor public health system. Three midwives were convicted of negligence but received only suspended jail sentences.
Amnesty International’s Senegal Director, Seydi Gassama, said:
“[We] urge the government to set up an independent commission of inquiry to determine responsibility and punish the culprits, no matter the level they are at in the state apparatus.”
Senegal is one of the poorest countries in the world, with low incomes and low life-expectancy. These hardships are particularly true in more rural areas where provision of healthcare and public services is much lower than in the cities.
[Based on reporting by: The Daily Mail]