Iraq's health minister resigns following tragic hospital blaze

Iraq's health minister resigns following tragic hospital blaze
Adeela Hamoud resigned on live television just hours after launching an immediate probe into the deadly fire that killed 15 including 12 premature babies on Tuesday night.
2 min read
11 August, 2016
The minister made the announcement on live television following the blaze[AFP]
Iraq’s health minister resigned on live television on Wednesday, after a tragic fire killed 12 newborn babies in one of the largest hospitals in the capital earlier this week.

Adeela Hamoud made the announcement just one day after a blaze tore through the maternity ward in Baghdad’s Yarmouk hospital, killing 15 people in total.

The minister – who was accused of negligence – launched an immediate investigation into the fire and sacked the head of the hospital before making her decision.

“Twenty-nine women patients who were in the same ward were evacuated to other hospitals in the capital,” health ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Rudeini told AFP

Another 36 people were injured when the blaze erupted overnight, Medic Ali al-Sarraj told The New Arab.

Mobile phone footage from the scene showed firemen attempting to contain the fire.

Security services sealed off the area as forensic teams searched the gutted ward and angry relatives massed outside, waiting for information from the authorities.

Charred incubators could be seen outside one of the entrances to the hospital, access to which was strictly controlled by the police.

The grief of the bereaved parents and relatives was compounded by the fact that the babies' young age and the effects of the fire made it very difficult to identify the bodies.

Many of Baghdad's public hospitals are poorly maintained and offer sub-standard healthcare, forcing a number of Iraqis to seek private treatment or travel abroad.

The lack of adequate public services, such as quality medical care, electricity and water supply, has angered the public and led to a series of protests over the past year.