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'It is heartbreaking': Families mourn 11 newborn babies who died after fire at Senegal hospital neonatal ward

After 11 babies died in an accident at a Senegal hospital, their families were devastated.

Macky Sall, the president of the country, said that the fire broke out in Tivaouane’s neonatal ward. It is located around 120km (75 mi) east of Dakar.

On Twitter, Mr Sall wrote: “I just learned with pain & consternation that 11 newborn babies died in the fire at the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in Tivaouane.

“To their mothers, and to their families, I offer my deepest sympathy.”


El Hadj Gueye was one of those affected. His wife Ramata Gueye gave birth to Mohamed seven months after she had given birth to him. El Hadj Gueye died three week ago.

The husband who lost his wife has learned that Mohamed was among the victims of the fire.

Moustapha Cisse’s cousin said that the couple had been trying to have a child for seven years.

More information on Senegal

He stated that it was heartbreaking to watch him lose his wife, and then his child. I cannot look at him in the eye. It’s possible he had other children but this was his only child.”

Diali Kaba, her two-week old daughter, was in the neonatal unit. She rushed to the hospital after learning about the fire. But she was seen outside breaking down when she learned that her baby girl had been among the dead.

Senegal’s Health Minister, Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr stated on TFM private Senegalese TV that “according preliminary investigation, a brief circuit triggered fire.”

Image Kaba reacts to a 10-day old baby as she stands outside of the hospital

Mr Sarr is in Geneva to attend the World Health Assembly. He said that he would shorten the trip and immediately return to Senegal.

The investigation of Neonatal Units will be done across the country

Demba Diop Sy is the mayor of Tivaouane. This is one of Senegal’s holy cities. He said that the fire and police were still present at the hospital.

Antoine Felix Abdoulaye Dione, Interior Minister, said that the president had ordered an inquiry into the fire and an audit of all neonatal units across the country.

Public health experts warned previously that many African hospitals were underfunded and understaffed, and they had to be able to meet acceptable safety standards.

Image After being refused admission to the hospital, a pregnant woman is seen walking out of hospital.

Amadou Kanar diop, a security and risk expert, visited the unit and found that the walls had been charred and that the staff seemed to have been overwhelmed.

He stated, “It is evident that they used multiple canisters fire extinguishers.”

Tivaouane, a major road transport hub and holy town that draws pilgrims from all parts of West Africa, is Tivaouane.


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