The news that 16 children died while admitted at Serrekunda General Hospital attracted public interest and led to public discourse for the possible causes of deaths. The fact that a worst case scenario occurred at the Children’s wing of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, many wondered whether the children died in similar circumstances.

This compelled Foroyaa to raise matters with the director of health services at the ministry of health for an answer. A reply was received from the deputy director confirming the deaths of sixteen children. The letter is published in this edition for public information.

Foroyaa strongly observes that such deaths which are of public interest should be subjected to a coroner’s inquest which will enable all concerned, including qualified pathologists, to explain the cause or causes of the deaths. Any conclusion reached through such a transparent process under the public view would allay all suspicions and rumours. This is precisely what should happen with deaths at Edward Francis Small Hospital and at Serrekunda Hospital. As a nation and people, child and maternal mortality should be of primary concern and we hope UNICEF will engage the Gambian authorities so that together a solution can be found in collaboration with the international community to prevent any recurrence.