Staff sacked over death of a pregnant woman in a Senegalese hospital

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Senegalese authorities have sacked the director of a public hospital and suspended the staff on duty on the day a pregnant woman died after waiting in vain for a caesarean section.

These were the first sanctions taken after the death, which caused an outcry all over the country with many social media users in the country questioning the quality of the public health system.

An official from the Ministry of Health confirmed the news to the AFP.

"The staff on duty are suspended. These are precautionary measures taken by the ministry," she told AFP earlier. The agents concerned "are at the disposal of the investigation and the police", she added.

According to the Senegalese press, Astou Sokhna, in her thirties, who was nine months pregnant, died on 7 April in Louga hospital (north) after unsuccessfully requesting a caesarean section. The circumstances of her death, as reported by the press quoting her relatives, caused considerable emotion.

The staff of the institution refused her request for a caesarean section, arguing that her operation was not planned, and threatened to expel her if she insisted.

President Macky Sall published a message of condolence to her family on Monday evening on Snapchat, a social network that is very popular among Senegalese women.

He had instructed to "shed light on the causes of death in order to determine all responsibilities". The health ministry said in a statement on Tuesday evening that it had sent missions to the hospital.

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