11 infants died in a fire at a Senegal hospital

DAKAR, Senegal –

President Macky Sall said a fire in the neonatal ward of a hospital in Senegal left 11 babies dead. Only three babies could be saved.

“To the mothers and their families, I express my deepest sympathies,” Sall tweeted late Wednesday.

Mayor Demba Diop said the fire was believed to have been caused by an electrical short at Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in Tivaouane, a town 120 kilometers northeast of the capital Dakar.

The deadly fire comes a year after four other infants died in a hospital fire in Linguere, northern Senegal.

The spate of other deaths has also raised concerns about maternal and newborn health in the West African country known for having some of the best hospitals in the region.

Earlier this month, authorities discovered a baby who had been declared dead by a nurse was still alive in the morgue. The infant later died.

Last year, a pregnant woman died in Louga, in the north of the country, after waiting in vain for a caesarean section. Three midwives were given six-month suspended prison sentences for not helping a person in danger.

Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, who was attending the World Health Assembly in Geneva, cut short his trip to return to Senegal.

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