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Sunday, December 04, 2022

Questions over the security of Senegalese hospitals after infant death

Senegalese President Mackie Sall fired the country’s health minister after a fire at a hospital on Wednesday night killed at least 11 newborns. A series of recent fatal tragedies in Senegal’s hospitals and clinics have raised doubts about the country’s health care system, which is considered one of the best in West Africa.

In April 2021, four newborns died in a fire at a hospital in the northern city of Linguere. The city’s mayor said the fire was caused by an electrical fault in an air conditioning unit.

Six months later, a baby in a Dakar hospital died of burns after being left in an incubator. Just two months ago, a nine-month-old pregnant woman sought emergency care at a hospital in the city of Luga. She was denied a C-section because the appointment was not scheduled and died 20 hours later.

Crowds Gathered Outside Mame Abdul Aziz Sai Dabakh Hospital In Tiwaune, Senegal, Where 11 Newborns Died In A Fire On Wednesday Night.  (Annika Hammerschlag/Voa)

Crowds gathered outside Mame Abdul Aziz Sai Dabakh Hospital in Tiwaune, Senegal, where 11 newborns died in a fire on Wednesday night. (Annika Hammerschlag/VOA)

The babies killed in Wednesday’s fire were being put under a special light for treatment of jaundice, a common condition in premature babies.

Aminatou Sar is the Senegalese country director for the Appropriate Technology Program in Health (PATH), a non-profit. He said that the main problem behind the incidents is lack of maintenance.

“And these tragedies will happen again and again, unfortunately, until we really understand that it is not a matter of people how much money or how expensive equipment we put into health facilities if we are able to provide electricity correctly. are not able to and maintain this equipment,” said Sir.

In Senegal, many women are wary of hospitals and prefer to give birth at home. But the expansion of health care facilities in rural areas as well as educational efforts have led to significant improvements.

Over the past 25 years, the number of women giving birth in health facilities has increased from 47 percent to 80 percent. During that time, the infant mortality rate fell from 138 deaths per 1,000 births to 38 deaths per 1,000 births today.

Incidents like Wednesday’s fire have the potential to hinder progress, Sir said, especially because they are increasing on social media.

Crowds Gathered Outside Mame Abdul Aziz Sai Dabakh Hospital In Tiwaune, Senegal, Where 11 Newborns Died In A Fire On Wednesday Night.  (Annika Hammerschlag/Voa)

Crowds gathered outside Mame Abdul Aziz Sai Dabakh Hospital in Tiwaune, Senegal, where 11 newborns died in a fire on Wednesday night. (Annika Hammerschlag/VOA)

The fire was started due to short circuit.

Ousmane Dia is the Director of Public Health Facilities at the Ministry of Health of Senegal.

“What we can say is that there was a technical failure because there was a short circuit, and there could be adverse events in all systems,” said Osman Dia, director of public health facilities for Senegal’s health ministry. “There can be many origins. Sometimes in hospitals you see people plugging in tea kettles or their phones, and that can lead to malfunctions.”

In response to the tragedy, Senegalese President Mackie Sall declared three days of national mourning and ousted Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sar.

Dia said Sarr had done an extraordinary job as health minister, especially with regard to Senegal’s COVID-19 response, and thanked him for his service.

Path’s Aminatou Sir said the move was a good sign that the government was taking the problem seriously, but it did not solve the larger issue.

President Sal is expected to meet the bereaved families in Tiwaune on Saturday.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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