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Health professionals arrested in Senegal after the deaths of mother and baby

Mame Abdoul Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital   -  
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SEYLLOU/AFP or licensors -

Senegal

Three health professionals in Senegal have been arrested following the death of a mother and baby during childbirth.

The deaths occurred in a health centre at Kédougou hospital, in the south-east of the country.

Officials say a gynaecologist, an anaesthetist and a nurse were arrested pending investigations into "involuntary manslaughter."

The incident has highlighted concerns about weaknesses in the Senegalese health system but prosecutors in Kédougou say there has been "a clear failure to respect the basic rules of medicine."

Health bosses in Kédougou have challenged the decision to hold the medical staff in custody suggesting the accused should have remained free to continue practising, because there is a severe shortage of health professionals in the area.

The chief doctor of the health district called for a national strike on Friday 2 September to support colleagues and the Senegalese association of obstetric gynaecologists called it "abusive arrest" insisting the team did the best it could with limited facilities.

But it comes a few months after a series of tragedies including the death of a pregnant woman in Louga and the deaths of eleven babies in a fire at hospital in the west of the country.

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