Tunisia’s health minister resigns after 11 babies die in hospital

Agency, 10 March : The Tunisian Health Minister Abderraouf Cherif has resigned following the deaths of 11 newborn babies at a hospital in the capital, Tunis. Tunisia’s health ministry said evidence suggested they had all died from septic shock between 7-8 March.

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

In a Facebook post, Tunisia’s paediatrics society said the infection may have been caused by an intravenous product. The group also criticised “precarious conditions in which health professionals work”.

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.


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