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Senegal health minister sacked after babies die in hospital fire

Image caption: Senegalese President, Macky Sall, wipes a tear as he makes a statement after visiting the public hospital where 11 newborns died in a fire last week, on May 27, 2022 in the western town of Tivaouane

The Senegalese President, Macky Sall, has sacked his Health Minister, Abdoulaye Sarr, following a hospital fire disaster in the country in which 11 newborns died and replaced him with another person. The blaze in a neonatal ward in Tivaouane has provoked grief and indignation over Senegal’s health system, just weeks after the country was rocked by the tragic death of a mother-to-be. 

The new Minister appointed by the President to avoid a vacuum in the administration of the country’s healthcare system is Marie Ndiaye. Ndiaye, before his appointment as the new minister, was the Director-General of Public Health in the country and would be saddled with the responsibility of restoring Senegalese confidence in public healthcare facilities.

The new development was revealed through a statement released by the president’s media handlers after families of newborn babies started to demand justice.

The 11 newborn babies died in a fire in the neonatal unit of Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in the western city of Tivaouane on Wednesday before last, triggering public anger, with citizens blaming it on negligence. Sarr, who was in Geneva, Switzerland, attending the annual assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO), had to cut his visit short following the incident.

Family members console each other outside the Hospital, where eleven babies died following an electrical fault, in Tivaouane, on May 26, 2022.

 

On his return, he visited the hospital’s neonatology department to inquire about the circumstances of the deaths of the newborns and was led around by the medical experts to ascertain the extent of the damage. Meanwhile, the public prosecutor had earlier said that investigations were still ongoing to establish the exact cause of the fire and that justice would be served by bringing all those responsible to account.

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