TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia's interim health minister says 12 newborn babies have died while receiving care at a public maternity hospital.

Interim minister Sonia Ben Sheikh said during a news conference in Tunis on Monday the infants had been born prematurely and died because of an infection in the hospital.

Ben Sheikh said results from tests to determine how the babies became infected won't be available for at least 10 days. She called the situation "unacceptable."

She says samples from the infants' bodies and the hospital have been sent to three different laboratories to ensure the investigation is done in a "transparent and credible way, far from any suspicion."

Ben Sheikh is filling the minister's role following Health Minister Abderraouf Cherif's resignation on Saturday amid a growing scandal over the newborns' deaths. Tunisian authorities have launched multiple investigations.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.