A MOTHER has spoken of her heartbreak after her newborn baby was burned alive in a fire that ripped through a maternity ward in Senegal last night.
The young mother described how powerless she felt after realising the blaze that had engulfed the neonatal ward of Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh hospital in Tivaouane, was where her baby was being cared for.
“My child was born healthy. The child was sick and we took him to the hospital; if he was not sick we would never have taken him to this hospital,” the mum explained.
“And now my child is burned alive or even charred.”
Tivaouane Mayor Diop Sy told RFM Radio that, by the time the blaze started ripping through the department, the two nurses who were present at the time escaped.
They could not save the newborns in their incubators.
“If there was a person on the scene at the time of the fire maybe a few children at least could have been saved but unfortunately, there are no survivors,” the young mum said.
“They could at least let us watch over our children.”
Amadou Kanar Diop, a risk and security expert who was called to investigate the incident this morning, told Reuters that the fire had been triggered by a short circuit, and had spread quickly throughout the ward.
Diop added staff on duty appeared to have been rapidly overwhelmed by the flames.
The country’s president Macky Sall offered his condolences to the heartbroken parents.
He tweeted: “I have just learned with pain and consternation the death of 11 newborn babies in the fire that occurred in the neonatology department of the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh hospital in Tivaouane.
“To their mothers and their families, I express my deepest sympathy.”
The Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital had only recently been inaugurated, local media reported.
This latest disaster has aggravated public anger over previous incidents in Senegalese hospitals.
“You are primarily responsible for what happened in Tivouane,” Moussa Kanka, an IT engineer, said on Twitter as he directed his exasperation to local authorities and politicians.
“We are never safe from this kind of disaster when you use the few resources we have to bribe politicians, buy votes, instead of building basic infrastructure.”
Last year four newborn babies were killed in a similar tragedy when a fire broke out at another maternity ward in the town of Linguère.
The town’s mayor claimed at the time the fire was triggered by an electrical malfunction in the air conditioning unit.
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