Senegal’s President Macky Sall on Thursday said that a fire that started at the neonatal department of a hospital in the West African nation claimed the lives of 11 newborn babies. According to CNN, the fatal incident occurred at the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in the city of Tivaouane.
“I just learned, with pain and consternation, the death of 11 newborn babies,” Sall wrote in a tweet. “I express my profound compassion to their mothers and their families.”
The country’s health ministry also released a statement on Thursday saying an emergency response plan had been initiated and “arrangements are being made for the assistance of the families of the victims.”
The ministry also said that Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, who is in Geneva for the World Health Assembly, would return to Senegal on Friday after prematurely ending his trip.
Cheikh Bamba Dièye, Senegal’s Minister of Regional Planning and Local Government, referred to the fatal fire outbreak as “horrific and unacceptable.” Dièye also called for a review of Senegal’s health system.
“I am appalled by the horrific and unacceptable death of 11 newborn babies in Tivaoune. The recurrence of tragedies in our hospitals reminds us of the obligation to thoroughly review the quality of service in our hospitals. My deepest condolences to the families,” he shared on Twitter.