Tunisia minister says hospital infection killed 12 newborns

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Tunisian temporarily appointed health minister Sonia Ben Cheikh speaks during a press conference in the capital Tunis on March 11, 2019. (AFP)
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A photo taken March 11, 2019, shows students demonstrating in front of the Ministry of Health in Tunis, after a dozen newborn babies died as a result of nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infection. A dozen newborn babies whose deaths at a Tunisian state hospital sparked public outrage are believed to have been killed by an infection acquired in the clinic, the acting health minister said.(AFP)
Updated 11 March 2019
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Tunisia minister says hospital infection killed 12 newborns

  • “The whole health sector is in a state of emergency,” the minister said
  • PM vows that “those responsible for any negligence” will face prosecution

TUNIS: A dozen newborn babies whose deaths at a Tunisian state hospital sparked public outrage are believed to have been killed by an infection acquired in the clinic, the acting health minister said Monday.
Sonia Ben Cheikh told a news conference that a 12th infant had died at the Rabta state hospital in Tunis on Sunday.
According to the preliminary findings of the ongoing investigation, a nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infection caused the deaths, she said.
“The whole health sector is in a state of emergency,” she told a news conference.
Reforms were needed to restore confidence, added Ben Cheikh, whose predecessor resigned Saturday in the face of a growing outcry over the deaths.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed swiftly vowed that “those responsible for any negligence” will face prosecution.
Officials launched medical and judicial investigations after the premature babies began dying on Thursday at the Rabta state hospital in Tunis.
The public health system, once a source of pride in Tunisia, has been hit by management and financial problems that lowered standards and caused drug shortages.


Iranian FM in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi counterpart as part of regional tour

Updated 54 min 56 sec ago
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Iranian FM in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi counterpart as part of regional tour

  • During his his two-day visit, Zarif will also meet the Iraqi president and Iraqi prime minister
  • Discussions will mainly focus on the current crisis and its impacts on the two countries

BAGHDAD: Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif landed in Baghdad on Saturday for talks with his Iraqi counterpart, an Arab News reporter confirmed.

During his his two-day visit, Zarif will also meet the Iraqi president and Iraqi prime minister. On Sunday morning, Zarif will meet several senior politicians before he heads to Najaf to meet some clerics, sources told Arab News.

The discussions will mainly focus on the current crisis and its impacts on the two countries in addition to possible options to reinforce the attempts to start dialogues with the related sides to reach a compromise or solutions for the current standoff between Iran and US.

The Iranian official will leave Iraq on Monday. Zarif's tour will also include trips to Turkey, India and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Iran's deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi will begin a separate tour on Sunday which will see him visit Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, according to Iranian news sources.