Tunisia’s health minister resigns over new-born baby deaths

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Tunisia‘s Health Minister Abderraouf Cherif has resigned following the deaths of 11 new-born babies at a hospital in the capital, Tunis. BBC News reports that all of the babies died of septic shock at the Rabta Maternity Hospital between 7-8 March.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said investigations have been launched into the state-run facility’s medical, pharmaceutical and hygiene practices. The report says Cherif’s resignation comes just four months after his appointment.

In a Facebook post, the Tunisian Paediatrics Society said the infection may have been caused by an intravenous feeding product. The group also called on the authorities to “shed light” on the case and criticised the “precarious conditions in which health professionals work”.

The report says Tunisia’s public healthcare had a reputation as one of the best in North Africa, and medical tourism is a source of considerable revenue for the country. But since the overthrow of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, the system has been hampered by management and financial problems, along with recurrent drug shortages.

BBC News report

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