Tunisia minister resigns over baby deaths

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Tunisia’s public healthcare had a reputation as one of the best in North Africa

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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