By: Nyima Sillah
Minister of Health Dr Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, on Sunday, during a press conference revealed that the Ministry of Health has further recorded 3 new deaths raising the death toll of Acute Kidney Injury to 69.
Speaking to the journalists, Dr Samateh said “The total number of patients who had Acute Kidney Injury as we speak is 81 and on receiving the mortality figures from Senegal, we now have total mortality of 69.
“This is a very difficult time for the entire country. This is a time for us to work together as a nation and support health workers to continue to investigate because the investigation of these causes of death is not concluded yet.”
Dr Samateh also said Acute Kidney Injury is a very devastating illness. He added that the government is doing all it can to ensure that this country gets all the resources that are required to deal with such cases.
He said the police have already started an investigation, and that the officials of the MCA and the importer of the drugs have already been invited to the police to help the police with further investigation. He added that the licenses of the importer of the drugs under the instructions of the president have also been suspended.
Dr Samateh noted that their epidemiologist and other health workers are working with teams from the WHO and the Centre for Disease Control in America to ensure that the investigation yields results that the government can act on decisively.
“We assure you that the government will do whatever is possible to get to the root of this and deceive actions will be taken based on the findings.”
Moreso, he said in a related development, the World Bank has pledged to help The Gambia put up a drug-quality laboratory food and drug quality laboratory so that we do not see these kinds of problems soon.
“I want to appeal to the Gambians to see the country first work together so that we identify the challenges and we build our nation together. This is a time of sadness, it is a time we should support each other as a country.
“We as a country are victims because these contaminated drugs weren’t manufactured here. No one ever thought this would have happened, that someone will bring in contaminated drugs that will lead to harm/loss of life.”
Meanwhile, He said: The figure WHO quoted was from The Gambia. Also, the information WHO came out with was their information. Adding that, they supported them to do the laboratory test because it is their mandate.
However, he disclosed that the WHO Regional Director for Africa and her team extended a message to him apologizing because that was not the correct protocol.
“The correct protocol is for us to get the laboratory result as a country and come up with an announcement that is the correct protocol.”