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

This picture taken on March 9, 2019 shows the entrance of the Wassila Bourguiba state maternity hospital in the Tunisian capital Tunis, at which 11 newborn babies died suddenly in its Rabta clinic, prompting a government probe into the incident [FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images]
This picture taken on March 9, 2019 shows the entrance of the Wassila Bourguiba state maternity hospital in the Tunisian capital Tunis, at which 11 newborn babies died suddenly in its Rabta clinic, prompting a government probe into the incident [FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images]

Tunisia’s health minister Abdel-Raouf El-Sherif resigned on Saturday after 11 babies mysteriously died within 24 hours in a hospital in the capital, state news agency TAP said.

The health ministry and state prosecutors have launched investigations into the cause of the babies’ death which was likely due to a blood infection, it said.

Tunisians have complained about a decline of state services since the overthrow of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 which has brought a democratic transition but also thrown the country into an economic crisis.

Government critics say the public sector is rife with corruption.

Investigations into the cause of the babies’ death, likely due to an infection, have been launched by the health ministry and state prosecutors, state news agency TAP said.

The health ministry was conducting medical and hygiene checks, as well as investigating the management of the hospital pharmacy a spokesman told AFP.

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