11 Babies Die in Hospital Fire:
On Wednesday, May 25th, 2022, Senegalese President Macky Sall stated that 11 newborn babies died in a fire at a hospital’s neonatal section in Senegal. Emergency workers were only able to rescue three babies.
According to a preliminary investigation, the fire at the neonatology department of Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in Tivaouane was caused by a short circuit.
President Macky Sall, who is out of the country on a presidential visit to Angola, took to Twitter on Thursday to state, “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 Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh hospital in Tivaouane.” Sall went on to extend his heartfelt condolences to the mothers and families of the deceased infants.
Mayor Demba Diop blamed the incident on an electrical short circuit at the Abdoul Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in Tivaouane, a village 120 kilometers (75 miles) northeast of the nation’s capital Dakar.
Interior Minister Antoine Diome told the media that authorities will start an investigation into the state of the hospital’s infrastructure as well as other health care facilities.
Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, the Minister of Health, confirmed to local media that a short circuit had produced the fire. “This situation is very unfortunate and extremely painful,” he remarked in the radio interview and further stated that the probe was still ongoing.
More Insights on the Hospital Fire…
Health Minister Sarr, who is currently in Geneva to represent Senegal at the World Health Assembly, has stated he will shorten his stay and travel back to Senegal as soon as possible.
A number of other incidents have also sparked concerns about maternal and baby health in the West African country, which is recognized for having some of the top hospitals in the region.
The lethal fire comes just a year after four babies died in a hospital fire in Linguere, Senegal’s northernmost city.
In 2021, a pregnant woman lost her life in Louga, as she waited to deliver through a cesarean operation. Three midwives received six-month suspended sentences for failing to assist a person in danger. The woman, Astou Sokhna, had come to the hospital in agony in the northern city of Louga. The staff at the hospital declined her request for a C-section, claiming that it was “not scheduled.” She died on April 1st, 20 hours after arriving.
Sokhna’s death sparked a nationwide outcry against Senegal’s deteriorating public health system, and the minister of health, Sarr admitted two weeks later that the tragedy may have been prevented.
After the “atrocious” deaths of the four newborns in Linguere, Amnesty International’s Senegal Director Seydi Gassama stated his organization had probed for an investigation and improvement of neonatology services in hospitals across Senegal.
With the latest tragedy on Wednesday, Amnesty International “urges the government to set up an independent commission of inquiry to determine responsibility and punish the culprits, no matter their level in the state apparatus,” he tweeted. Mamadou Lamine Diallo, an opposition legislator, was equally outraged by the Tivaouane fire that murdered the newborns. He responded to President Sall’s tweet and said “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.”