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Eleven newborn babies killed in Senegal hospital fire

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By Euronews  with AP
Senegal's President Macky Sall speaks during a media conference at the conclusion of an EU Africa summit in Brussels, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.
Senegal's President Macky Sall speaks during a media conference at the conclusion of an EU Africa summit in Brussels, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.   -   Copyright  John Thys, Pool Photo via AP

Eleven newborn babies were killed at a hospital in Senegal, the country's president said.

"I have just learned with pain and consternation of the death of 11 newborn babies in a fire that occurred in the neonatal department of the public hospital in Tivaouane," said Senegalese President Macky Sall in a post on Twitter.

"To their mothers and families, I express my deepest sympathy," Sall said.

Tivaouane mayor Demba Diop said the fire was caused by a short circuit and that it spread quickly.

It comes just a year after four newborns died in a hospital fire in Linguere in northern Senegal.

A series of other deaths have raised concerns about maternal and infant health in the West African nation known for having 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.

Last year a pregnant woman died in Louga, in the north of the country, after waiting in vain for a caesarean section. Three midwives were given six-month suspended sentences for not giving help to a person in danger.

Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, who was attending the World Health Assembly in Geneva, cut short his trip to return to Senegal.