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A deadly hospital fire in Senegal has claimed the lives of 11 newborns.
The fire started on Wednesday, May 25, at the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh hospital in Tivaouane – a city in northwestern Senegal (western Africa), which is located about 75 miles from Dakar, the nation’s capital.
In a broadcast interview with Radio Futurs Medias (RFM), Tivaouane Mayor Diop Sy told the public that the fire started in the neonatal ward from an electrical short-circuit and had spread in less than five minutes, according to Reuters.
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Two nurses escaped the blaze, but they could not rescue the babies from their incubators, Sy said.
The hospital ward received an inspection from risk and security expert Amadou Kanar Diop, who found the walls were charred. Diop said it appears the on-duty staff were quickly overwhelmed by the flames, according to Reuters.
“It can be seen that they used several canisters of fire extinguishers,” Diop reportedly told Reuters.
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Macky Sall, the president of the Republic of Senegal, issued a tweet Wednesday night shortly after the news reached him.
“I have just learned with pain and consternation of 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,” he wrote, in French. “To their mothers and their families, I express my deepest sympathy.”
Families rushed to the hospital to check the status of their newborns, and some received grave news, including Diali Kaba, who lost her 10-day-old baby girl.
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The Tivaouane hospital fire follows a similar tragedy that occurred last year in the city of Linguère, where a hospital fire killed four infants on April 25, 2021. Linguère is located more than 200 miles northeast of Tivaouane –
Reuters reports that locals and political parties are calling for preventative safety measures at Senegalese hospitals.
The Republic of Senegal’s Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr announced he will cut his trip to the World Health Assembly in Geneva short so he can return to Senegal immediately, according to Télé Futurs Médias (TFM), a private television station.
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Reuters contributed to this report.
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