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

The death in hospital of a pregnant woman, after what the local press presented as a long agony and a denial of treatment, arouses great emotion in Senegal, prompting the Head of State to react and promise “all the light” about this drama

The facts date back to several days ago and took place 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.

Read also In Kédougou, in the south-east of Senegal, the challenge of access to health for all

The institution’s staff reportedly refused her request, claiming her operation was unplanned and threatened to kick her out if she persisted. “Unacceptable! “ the newspaper headlined Monday 11 April on “one” To free.

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

Discrimination against women

The director of the hospital, Amadou Guèye Diouf, said on Monday evening that he had done so “Started an administrative procedure to clarify the contours of this case (…) and take appropriate measures “.. The case again fed several “those” of the written and online press on Tuesday.

Say you have “Learned with the utmost sadness of the death of Mr.myself Astou Sokhna in hospital “President Macky Sall posted a message Monday evening by “The deepest condolences to his family” on the Snapchat social network, very popular with Senegalese women.

“I have instructed the competent authorities to shed full light on the causes of death to identify all the responsibilities. No failure will be tolerated “the Head of State added, assuring that he did ” to the heart “ the health sector and insist “every day to improve the care of the populations”.

Read also: In Senegal, the anachronistic survival of the “villages of lepers”

A country with a Muslim majority, Senegal has made significant progress in recent years in the area of ​​women’s rights, as evidenced by the adoption, at the beginning of April, of a “law on the protection of pregnant women”intended in particular to put an end to the widespread practice of firing a pregnant worker.

But the United Nations and rights defenders regularly call on the authorities to do more to end discrimination, including legal discrimination, suffered by women, as well as the violence to which they are regularly 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 trade unions regularly deplore 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 city of Linguère, near Louga.

“What hurts the most is when we Senegalese pretend to find out, terrified, what is happening in this country. Today it is the hospital. Tomorrow, [ce sera] Other [chose]. We will forget and move on to the next controversy. Everyday life is dramatic as it trivializes everything.a Twitter user complained Tuesday.

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On social networks, many messages denounce the care reserved for patients in public facilities and in particular the delays that push many patients to turn to private sector services, despite a higher cost. “We cannot continue to hold God accountable for our actions”wrote a woman on Twitter.

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

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The world with AFP

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