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Fire kills 11 newborn babies in African hospital

A fire in a neonatal hospital ward has killed 11 newborn babies in west Africa overnight.

Senegal President Macky Sall made the announcement on Twitter on May 26. “I have just learned with pain and dismay the death of 11 newborns, in the fire that occurred in the neonatal department of the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in Tivaouane,” he tweeted. “To their mothers and families, I express my deepest sympathy.”

According to a preliminary investigation, the fire was caused by “a short circuit” and “spread very quickly” in the ward stated Senegal’s health minister, Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr.

Demba Dip, mayor of Tivaouane, where the hospital is located, says “Three babies were saved.”

Thursday morning, police and fire services remained at the facility.

Tivaouane, in northwest Senegal, is located around 50 miles from the country’s capital, Dakar.

The country’s health minister is in Geneva for the World Health Assembly but said he would cut the trip short and return immediately to Senegal, AFP reported.

This is not the first time a fire has erupted in a Senegalese hospital this year. In April, a fire similarly broke out at a hospital in Linguere where four newborns were killed.

The mayor of Linguere cited an electrical fault in an air conditioner in the maternity ward as the cause, AFP confirmed.

The agency also reported about an incident in early April in which a pregnant woman died while waiting in vain to receive a Caesarean section.

Her death outside a public hospital in the northwestern town of Louga caused nationwide anger about the state of Senegal’s public health system.

–Wire services