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Senegal: Eleven babies killed in hospital fire

Relatives grieve loss of babies killed in hospital fire

Eleven new born babies died in Tivaouane's public hospital after a blaze broke out late Wednesday in the neonatal unit. President Macky Sall decreeded a three-day national mourning. He is expected in the city Saturday.

In western Senegal, grieving families continue to come to the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in Tivaouane for answers.

Eleven new born babies died here after a blaze broke out late on Wednesday in the neonatal unit, leaving an entire population deeply affected.

Cheikh Coundoul, a relative of a fire victim came early to inquire about his niece's baby before learning the newborn persished: "We learnt there a fire broke out in Tivaouane hospital and that my niece’s baby was in the nursery. We came to get more information about the situation but at first, we were not able to reach anyone in charge. It’s later, when many parents started complaining that the hospital’s director told us that our baby had perished in the fire."

According to the health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, the tragedy was caused by "a short circuit".

The maternity unit was equipped to take care of 13 babies. The mayor said three babies were saved. The grieving families, are waiting for the end of the investigation to go through their mourning process.

"We wanted to recover the bodies of the babies,Cheikh Coundoul says, but the hospital’s director told us that this was impossible because an investigation is underway and it is up to the prosecutor to make decisions. The entire population is devastated by what happened there."

President Macky Sall sent his deepest sympathies to the mothers and their families.

This accident comes after several other incidents at public health facilities shook the Senegalese public opinion.

Following the death of 4 babies in a fire at a public hospital least year, organisations called for an inspection and upgrade for neonatology services in hospitals across Senegal.