W.H.O. SAYS AKI KILLED 66 CHILDREN IN GAMBIA

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Lamin Cham & Talibeh Hydara

The director general of the World Health Organisation has issued a medical product alert for contaminated medicines linked to Acute Kidney Injury, AKI, which has been killing children in The Gambia.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a media briefing yesterday, said AKI has killed 66 children in the country.

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In August, The Standard published about a previously mysterious disease killing children in the country.

Having been identified as AKI, health authorities have since been investigating and taking actions for the past two months.

Since its connection to paracetamol syrup was established, the Ministry of Health and the Medicines Control Agency have suspended the distribution and have yesterday started an exercise to recall all paracetamol syrup.

During yesterday’s press briefing, Director Tedros named the Indian company producing the cough syrup linked to AKI in The Gambia.

“WHO has today issued a medical product alert for four contaminated medicines identified in The Gambia that have been potentially linked with acute kidney injuries and 66 deaths among children.

The loss of these young lives is beyond heartbreaking for their families.

The four medicines are cough and cold syrups produced by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited, in India.

WHO is conducting further investigation with the company and regulatory authorities in India.

While the contaminated products have so far only been detected in The Gambia, they may have been distributed to other countries.

WHO recommends all countries detect and remove these products from circulation to prevent further harm to patients,” the WHO director said.

Meanwhile, the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) has issued another medicine safety alert as part of investigations into the outbreak.

 A directive sent to all healthcare staff informed them of the urgent recall of some ‘contaminated, substandard and falsified medicinal products’ sourced from Maiden Pharmaceuticals in India.

 According to the memo from the MCA, some of the affected medicines have already been recalled but some quantities are still being dispensed in private clinics, hospitals and other pharmaceutical premises in town.

MCA instructs all health care workers to stop prescribing, dispensing and use of all batches of the following  products which are contaminated  harmful substances  with  Ethylene and Diethylene Glycol:

Promethazine oral solution BP 5mg–5ml

Kofimaxlin Baby cough syrup pheniramine Maleate Ammonium chloride Menthol-15mg-120mg-1mg

-MaKoff Baby cough syrup (Chloropheniramine Maleate, Phenylephrine HBR, Dextrommethopan syrup 2mg- 5mg- 10mg-

MaGripn’ Cold Syrup -paracetamol BP 125mg, Phenylephrine HCL BP 2.50mg. Chloropheniramine MaleateBP 1mg-125mg-2.50mg-1mg.

The MCA also urged all healthcare workers to refrain from prescribing and dispensing Maiden products for adults and children medication until further notice.

The Standard sounded the opinion of a medical doctor who said the MCA should further explain how the products got here in the first place because all importers share their list with the Agency.