In Senegal, protest after the tragic death of a pregnant woman in hospital

The death in hospital of a pregnant woman, after what the local press has presented as a long agony and denial of care, has caused great emotion in the Senegalpushing the Head of State to react and promise “all light” about this drama.

The events date back several days and occurred in a public hospital in the city of Louga, in the north of the country. According to the Senegalese press, Astou Sokhna, in her thirties, married and nine months pregnant, died there on April 7 after unsuccessfully requesting a caesarean section.

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Staff at the facility reportedly refused her request, arguing that her operation was unplanned, and threatened to fire her if she persisted. “Unacceptable! » headlined on Monday April 11 in “one” the newspaper Release.

According to the media, the young woman waited twenty hours for an intervention that never came, before expiring while saying words widely spread on Monday and Tuesday on social networks: “Operate me because I don’t know if I’ll still be here tomorrow. » Your baby was not saved.

discrimination against women

The hospital’s director, Amadou Guèye Diouf, said Monday night that there had been “initiated an administrative procedure to elucidate the contours of this case (…) and take appropriate action.”. The case still nurtured this Tuesday several “ones” of the written and online press.

saying have “It is with the greatest sadness that I learned of the passing of Mr.I Astou Sokhna in hospital »President Macky Sall released a message Monday night “Heartfelt condolences to his family” on the Snapchat social network, very popular among Senegalese women.

“I have instructed the competent authorities to fully clarify the causes of death in order to locate all responsibilities. No failure will be tolerated.”added the Head of State, assuring that he had ” To the heart “ the health sector and insist “every day to improve the attention of the populations”.

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Senegal, a country with a Muslim majority, has made significant progress in the field of women’s rights in recent years, as evidenced by the adoption in early April of a “pregnant woman protection law”intended in particular to put an end to the widespread practice of dismissing an employee when she is pregnant.

But the UN and human rights advocates regularly call on the authorities to do more to end the discrimination, including legal discrimination, suffered by women, as well as the violence to which they are routinely subjected.

“Justice for Astou”

The Louga tragedy is the latest in a series of tragedies that have occurred in Senegal in the health sector, where unions regularly lament the lack of human, technical and financial resources. Some have already made headlines, such as the death of four newborns in April 2021 following a fire at the hospital in the town of Linguère, near Louga.

“What hurts the most is when we Senegalese try to discover, terrified, what is happening in this country. Today is the hospital. Morning, [ce sera] other [chose]. We will forget and move on to the next controversy. Everyday life is dramatic in the sense that it trivializes everything.lamented a Twitter user on Tuesday.

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On social networks, many messages denounce the reserved treatment of patients in public structures and, in particular, the delays that push many patients to resort to private sector services, despite higher costs. “We cannot continue to hold God responsible for our actions”one woman wrote on Twitter.

A petition asking “Justice for Astou” it has already garnered tens of thousands of signatures and a march is planned for Friday in Louga on the same issue. According to the press, the victim’s husband filed a complaint on Monday with the local court.

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Le Monde and AFP

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