11 babies killed in Senegal hospital fire

  • Just before midnight in Senegal, Macky Sall announced on Twitter that 11 infants had died in the blaze.
Representational image
Representational image
Updated on May 26, 2022 11:10 AM IST
Copy Link
AFP |

Eleven newborn babies died in a hospital fire in the western Senegalese city of Tivaouane, the president of the country said late Wednesday.

Just before midnight in Senegal, Macky 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," he tweeted.

"To their mothers and their families, I express my deepest sympathy," Sall added.

The tragedy occurred at Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in the transport hub of Tivaouane, and was caused by "a short circuit", according to Senegalese politician Diop Sy.

"The fire spread very quickly," he said.

The city's mayor Demba Diop said "three babies were saved".

According to local media, the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital was newly inaugurated.

Health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, who was in Geneva attending a meeting with the World Health Organization, said he would return to Senegal immediately.

"This situation is very unfortunate and extremely painful," he said on radio. "An investigation is under way to see what happened."

The tragedy in Tivaouane comes after several other incidents at public health facilities in Senegal, where there is great disparity between urban and rural areas in healthcare services.

In the northern town of Linguere in late April, a fire broke out at a hospital and four newborn babies were killed. The mayor of that town had cited an electrical malfunction in an air conditioning unit in the maternity ward.

- 'Enough is enough' -

Wednesday's accident also comes over a month after the nation mourned the death of a pregnant woman who waited in vain for a Caesarean section.

The woman, named Astou Sokhna, had arrived at a hospital in the northern city of Louga in pain. The staff had refused to accommodate her request for a C-section, saying that it was not scheduled.

She died April 1, 20 hours after she arrived.

Sokhna's death caused a wave of outrage across the country on the dire state of Senegal's public health system, and health minister Sarr acknowledged two weeks later that the death could have been avoided.

Three midwives -- on duty the night Sokhna died -- were sentenced on May 11 by the High Court of Louga to six months of suspended imprisonment for "failure to assist a person in danger" in connection to her case.

Amnesty International's Senegal director Seydi Gassama said his organisation had called for an inspection and upgrade for neonatology services in hospitals across Senegal after the "atrocious" death of the four babies in Linguere.

With Wednesday's fresh tragedy, Amnesty "urges 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", he tweeted.

Opposition lawmaker Mamadou Lamine Diallo also responded with outrage to the Tivaouane blaze that killed the babies.

"More babies burned in a public hospital... this is unacceptable @MackySall," he said.

"We suffer with the families to whom we offer our condolences. Enough is enough."

 

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Other places from which Google will not store location data include fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, and weight loss clinics.

    Google to delete user location history on US abortion clinic visits

    "If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit," Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. "This change will take effect in the coming weeks."

  • Professor Ajay Agrawal, who was honoured with the Order of Canada in the 2022 list. (Credit: University of Toronto)

    Two Indo-Canadian academics honoured with Order of Canada

    Two Indo-Canadian academics, working on research to advance the betterment of mankind, have been honoured with one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Order of Canada. Their names were in the list published by the office of the governor-general of Canada Mary Simon. Both have been invested (as the bestowal of the awards is described) into the Order as a Member. They are professors Ajay Agrawal and Parminder Raina.

  • SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk.

    Elon Musk's Twitter hiatus, in 2nd week now,  generates curiosity 

    The world's richest person, Elon Musk, has not tweeted in about 10 days and it can't go unnoticed. The 51-year-old business tycoon has 100 million followers on the microblogging site, which he is planning to buy. Since April, he has been making headlines for the $44 billion deal and his comments and concerns about the presence of a large number of fake accounts on Twitter.

  • A Taliban fighter stands guard at a news conference about a new command of hijab by Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    Taliban's reclusive supreme leader attends gathering in Kabul: Report

    The Taliban's reclusive supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada joined a large gathering of nationwide religious leaders in Kabul on Friday, the state news agency said, adding he would give a speech. The Taliban's state-run Bakhtar News Agency confirmed the reclusive leader, who is based in the southern city of Kandahar, was attending the meeting of more than 3,000 male participants from around the country, aimed at discussing issues of national unity.

  • James Topp, a Canadian Forces veteran who marched across Canada protesting against the Covid-19 vaccines mandates, speaks to supporters as he arrives at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial ahead of Canada Day in Ottawa, Ontario, on Thursday. (REUTERS)

    July 1: Canada to mark 155th anniversary of its formation

    As the country prepares to celebrate the 155th anniversary of the formation of the Canadian Confederation, Canada Day, the traditional centre of festivities, Parliament Hill in Ottawa, will be off limits as protesters linked to the Freedom Convoy begin gathering in the capital for the long weekend. Various events have been listed by protesters including a march to Parliament Hill on Friday.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, July 02, 2022