A hospital fire in the western city of Tivaouane in Senegal has killed eleven newborn babies.
Senegal’s president, Macky Sall said in a statement that the fire at Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital was in the maternity department.
“To their mothers and their families, I express my deepest sympathy,” President Sall wrote in a tweet.
Je viens d’apprendre avec douleur et consternation le décès de 11 nouveaux nés, dans l’incendie survenu au service de néonatalogie de l’hôpital Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh de Tivaouane.
A leurs mamans et et à leurs familles, j’exprime ma profonde compassion.
— Macky Sall (@Macky_Sall) May 25, 2022
The city’s mayor Demba Diop Sy said three babies were saved from the fire which politicians had said was caused by a short circuit.
“This situation is very unfortunate and extremely painful,” Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr said.
The minister said an investigation was now under way as he announced he would be cutting his trip to Geneva short to return to Senegal immediately.
Senegal’s healthcare system is now being criticized amid the fire outbreak.
Rights group Amnesty International has urged the government to create an “independent commission of inquiry to determine responsibility and punish the culprits, no matter the level they are at in the state apparatus.”
Nous compatissons à la douleur des familles éplorées et exhortons le gouvernement à mettre en place une commission d’enquête indépendante pour situer les responsabilités et sanctionner les coupables à quelque niveau qu’ils soient dans l’appareil d’Etat. 3/3
— Seydi Gassama (@SeydiGassama) May 26, 2022
A similar incident occurred in the northern town of Linguère last year where four newborn babies were killed there after a fire broke out at a hospital’s maternity ward.
That incident was blamed on an electrical fault in the air conditioning unit of the maternity ward.