Eleven babies were killed in a fire at a hospital in the Senegalese town of Tivaouane. This year, the West African country has already experienced several tragedies in hospitals.
News of the newborn babies’ deaths was announced “with great sadness and desolation” by President Macky Sall shortly before midnight Wednesday. He offered his condolences to the affected mothers and other loved ones.
The drama prompted Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr to immediately leave a World Health Organization conference in Geneva and return to Senegal.
In the fire, which according to initial reports would have started due to a short circuit in the neonatology department, three babies could be rescued by the flames, according to Mayor Demba Diop of Tivaouane. The Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh hospital recently opened its doors.
Several tragedies this year
In the northern town of Linguère, four babies were also killed in a fire in April, possibly due to a short circuit in the air conditioning. During the same month, a woman who had waited in vain for a caesarean section died. Three doctors involved were given suspended prison sentences two weeks ago for negligence.
Amnesty International’s director in Senegal, Seydi Gassama, has called for an independent investigation into the incidents. That “to punish the culprits, whatever their position”.
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