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Senegal: 3 health workers arrested after new drama around childbirth

Senegal: 3 health workers arrested after new drama around childbirth
FILE- A pregnant student poses on July 29, 2013 in Pretoria at the Pretoria...   -  
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STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP

Women's Health

A woman and the baby she was carrying died on Tuesday night during childbirth in a health center in Kédougou (southeast), a union representative told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case is pending in courts.

The press reported terrible circumstances during the delivery and the care of the medical team.

Health centers are intermediate structures between health posts and hospitals in Senegal.

"Three people have been arrested since yesterday (Wednesday). They are in custody at the gendarmerie of Kédougou for negligence," said the union representative. They are a gynecologist, an anesthetis,t and a nurse, he said.

The Senegalese Association of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (ASGO), which has a member among the three in custody, said that the team that took care of the pregnant woman and her baby "took the appropriate decision" for their health by using the "obstetrical technique" that is needed, in a statement issued Thursday evening.

It "denounces the wrongful arrest" of its member "without prior investigation or expertise". The Association "renews (its) support to their colleague who officiates (hundreds) of km from Dakar in extremely difficult working conditions," according to the statement.

According to the Senegalese press, Dioura Diallo, in a very advanced state of pregnancy and whose age was not specified, presented herself on Tuesday evening at the health center. She died after bleeding profusely and following a botched caesarean section during which the baby suffered injuries before dying, according to the press.

This case echoes another that caused a stir. Astou Sokhna, in her thirties, married and nine months pregnant, died on 7 April in the hospital in Louga (north) after waiting in great pain for a caesarean section that she wanted.

Three midwives were sentenced in May in Louga to six months suspended prison for "failure to assist a person in danger".

Eleven babies died on May 25 in a fire in the hospital in the western city of Tivaouane. Three people who were in preventive detention as part of the investigation were released on bail between August 23 and August 30, the press reported.