By Abdul Rahman Bangura–
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Freetown, Sierra Leone – The Administration of the Gambia has initiated a serious door-to-door crusade to discard cough and cold syrups child for the passing of more than 69 children from kidney injuries in the West African nation of the Gambia.
Gambians are asking, how did these cough and syrups medicines made it in the Country and asking for accountability.
Dr. Mustapha Bittaye – Director of Health ascertained to the press, the surge of child deaths from critical kidney injury, carrying shockwaves across the country of 2.4 million people and around the world.
“WHO has issued a medical product alert for four contaminated medicines identified in the Gambia that have been potentially linked to acute kidney injuries and 69 deaths among children,” WHO Director-General Teuros Adhanom
Ghebreyesu said in a statement issued.
“The loss of young lives is beyond heartbreaking for their families,” he told.
The four medicines are cough and cold syrups produced in India, the WHO statement said.
While the contaminated products have so far only been detected in Gambia, they may have been distributed to other countries, it said. WHO is pursuing investigations with the company and regulatory authorities in India, it said.
“WHO recommends all countries detect and remove these products from circulation to prevent further harm to patients,” it explained.
Banding together with Gambia Red Cross Society, the Ministry of Health has sent hundreds of young people to collect the suspect syrups through a house-to-house campaign.
Gambia’s Medical Research Council has also published an alarm.
“Over the last week, we admitted a child with this condition (acute kidney injury) … and she has unfortunately died. We were able to confirm that she had taken one of the drugs that is suspected to be causing this, prior to her arrival at our clinic. It had been bought at a pharmacy within Gambia,” the council said in a statement.
“The drug has been identified as containing a significant amount of a toxin which damages kidneys irreversibly.”
In India, the federal regulator and the state regulator of northern Haryana state are administering an investigation into the infected medicines.
Of the 23 samples tested, four had so far been found to be poisoned and India is waiting for the analysis to be shared with it, said an Indian health official who talked on circumstance of facelessness since they were not approved to speak to the media.
Phone calls to the headquarters of the drugmaker – Maiden Pharmaceutical Limited, went unanswered. Neither India’s Health Ministry nor the federal regulator reacted to queries.
For New Africa Business News (NABN) Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent