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AKI victims’ families outraged by medical officer’s accusation, demand apology

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By Tabora Bojang

Families of children killed by Acute Kidney Injury have been angered by accusations made against them by a senior medical officer Dr. Anna Jammeh, who accused them of being uncooperative with health investigators, probing the AKI cases in the country.

Dr Jammeh, who is the incident manager at the epidemiology and disease control unit at EFSTH, told a National Assembly committee probing the AKI deaths that the refusal of families to cooperate with investigators has posed a major concern to ongoing investigations of health care givers.

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She also told the inquiry some victims refused to respond to interviews by health investigators, while giving incomplete information or false information about the duration of the sickness of their children and addresses.

But families of the victims in a statement signed by its chairman, Ebrima Sagnia and vice chairman Mariama Sisawo shared with The Standard, said they are dismayed by these “false accusations” calling it a ploy by the health ministry to “divert and distort” the issue of AKI in order to “prevent justice” in the matter.

The victims also demanded that Dr Jammeh withdraw her “false and insensitive comments” and apologize.

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“We the victims’ families hereby totally refute these claims by Dr. Anna Jammeh as false and malicious. These unfounded claims by Dr. Jammeh are once again part of the series of attempts by officials of the Ministry of Health to divert and distort the issue of AKI in order to mislead the public and prevent justice and accountability. We are particularly concerned that the attempt to undermine investigations is now directed at attacking grieving parents who have no reason whatsoever to refuse to cooperate with investigators. We therefore challenge Dr. Anna Jammeh to disclose the names of victims who have refused to cooperate or gave false information.  The Ministry of Health is aware of the association of AKI victims. Hence if there is any official investigation at the Ministry of Health, it is necessary that the victims’ association is formally informed. The association and the victims themselves, individually and collectively are integral to any investigation. Hence it is utterly necessary that victims are adequately informed of any process that is unfolding. Until now, the Minister of Health or any public health official has ever invited victims as a group to share with them any information. Dr. Jammeh has a duty to tell the National Assembly the truth and perform her duty. She cannot impugn the character and dignity of victims as a means to cover up the truth. We therefore take great exception to the misinformation from Dr. Anna Jammeh and wish to call on the Minister of Health Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh to ensure that his officials show respect and honesty when they deal with the AKI issue and victims,” the victims demanded.

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