The tragedy occurred due to an electrical failure that caused a fire in the neonatology room of an establishment opened recently. This new fact accentuates the deficiency of the Senegalese health system, which drags another two negative antecedents in a few months. The president, on an official trip to Angola, spoke of “pain and consternation”; while the mayor of Tivaouane stated that three other children survived.
The last hours of Wednesday darkened the panorama in Senegal after a fire broke out in the section of a regional hospital Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh in the city of Tivaouane, which resulted in the death of 11 newborn babies.
Local media have revealed that these sanitary facilities have been recently inaugurated. The mayor of the town, Demba Diop, reported that three neonates were able to survive.
The Senegalese president, Macky Sall, expressed himself through his Twitter account where he said he had “pain and dismay” at the sad news. “To their mothers and their families, I express my deepest condolences,” the president added that he was on an official trip to Angola, which he will interrupt to return to the country.
According to the details given by the Minister of Health, Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, to the private TFM television, the preliminary investigation that was carried out revealed that the fire was caused by “a short circuit” and that the fire “spread very quickly”.
The official was currently on his way to the World Health Assembly in Geneva and announced that he will also end the trip to return to Senegal immediately. “This situation is very unfortunate and extremely painful,” he said.
Je viens d’apprendre avec douleur et dismay le ten de 11 nouveaux nés, dans l’incendie survenu au service de néonatalogie de l’hôpital Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh de Tivaouane.
To leurs mamans et et à leurs familles, j’express ma profonde compassion.
— Macky Sall (@Macky_Sall) May 25, 2022
This new incident once again demonstrates the health and safety fragility that public health establishments in Senegal are going through. Two serious incidents in recent months caused strong protests from the population in the streets.
On April 25, 2021, in the northern city of Linguere, four newborn babies died in a hospital fire caused by a short circuit in the air conditioning system. This gave rise to demonstrations in different parts of the nation.
After this fatality, the director of Amnesty International in Senegal asked the Government to review and improve neonatal services in hospitals.
This Wednesday, AI urged the authorities “to establish an independent investigation commission to determine responsibility and punish the guilty, regardless of the level at which it is found in the state apparatus.”
The other case happened last April, when a woman died in labor along with her baby after hospital staff refused to perform a cesarean section on the grounds that it was not scheduled.
The victim, named Astou Sokhna, who died 20 hours after arrival, suffered a death that could have been prevented, the health minister admitted. On May 11, the Louga High Court sentenced three midwives to six months suspended prison terms for “failure to help a person in danger”.
With EFE, Reuters and AFP
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