The fire in the Senegal hospital kills 11 children, says the president

At least 11 newborns were killed after a fire struck the neonatal unit of a regional hospital in the West African nation of Senegal, the country’s president Macky Sall said Thursday. on Twitter.

Mr. Sall, who was on a state visit to Angola, said the fire broke out at the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh hospital in the city of Tivaouane, which is about 50 miles northeast of Dakar, the capital. .

“To their mothers and their families, I express my deepest solidarity,” said Mr. Sall. He did not provide further details.

Senegalese Minister of Health, Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, who was in Geneva for the World Health Assembly, posted on twitter, “We learned with pain of the deadly fire in the neonatal ward of the Mame AA Sy Dabakh hospital in Tivaouane.” He said he had sent a delegation to the site of the fire and had interrupted his journey to return immediately to Dakar.

He later told the TFM television station that “according to a preliminary investigation, a short circuit started the fire.” The news site Senegal 7 he also reported that the fire broke out at around 8pm on Wednesday.

The city mayor told reporters that the fire was spreading rapidly but three children had been rescued. according to the BBC.

Cheikh Bamba Dièye, Minister of Regional Planning and Local Government, suggested on Twitter A more in-depth examination of the state of the country’s hospitals was needed.

“I am shocked by the horrific and unacceptable deaths of 11 newborns in Tivaouane,” he wrote. “The recurrence of tragedies in our hospitals reminds us of the obligation to thoroughly review the quality of service in our hospitals”.

The Senegalese hospital system was already facing public scrutiny over a case in which a nine-month pregnant woman and her unborn child died in April in the northern city of Louga after her requests for a caesarean section were ignored. according to the news. In response, members of a national association of midwives went on strike, the hospital director was fired, and six midwives were accused of failing to assist a person in distress. reports the BBC. Three were acquitted this month and the others were sentenced to six months with suspended sentences.

There have been a number of devastating fires in Senegal in recent years. In April 2021, four newborns died after a fire broke out at a hospital in the northern city of Linguère, which the mayor said was most likely caused by the electrical malfunction of an air conditioning unit in the maternity ward. in 2013, at least nine children died in one home fire in the Medina district of Dakar, according to reports at the time by the state news agency of Senegal. Seven of the children were Quranic students taking lessons from a holy man who employed them as beggars.

In 2017, a fire killed at least 22 people and injured more than 100 during an Islamic festival in the village of Médina Gounas, in the eastern part of the country. In 2010, six people were killed and several injured after a fire broke out during the same retreat.

Mike Ives Other Elian Peltier contributed reportage.