Senegal: Police Arrest 2 After A Fire Killed 11 Newborns

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Two health professionals from a neonatal hospital in Senegal have been detained after a fire killed 11 newborns last week. The arrest happened on Sunday, according to private Senegalese radio station RFM.

The nurse and a nurse’s aide were on duty Wednesday night when the fire took place at the Abdoul Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in Tivaouane, a town 120 kilometres (75 miles) northeast of the capital, Dakar.

They were arrested for “neglecting children” and “endangering the lives of others”, according to a report by RFM.

The arrests came days after President Macky Sall promised investigations to determine the cause of the fire. He also called for auditing of all medical equipment that accommodates newborns in the country.

Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr was fired last week and replaced by senior ministry official Marie Khemesse Ngom Ndiaye, the government said.

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Sarr, who was attending the World Health Assembly in Geneva, cut short his trip to return to Senegal and told RFM that the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit.

A year earlier, four other newborns died in a hospital fire in Linguere in northern Senegal.

A series of other deaths also have raised concerns about maternal and infant health in the West African nation believed to have some of the best hospitals in the region.

Earlier this month, authorities discovered a baby that had been declared dead by a nurse’s aide was still alive in a morgue. The infant later died.

Authorities discovered a baby who had been declared dead by a nurse’s aide was still alive in a morgue earlier this month.

The baby died afterwards.