By: Nyima Sillah
Following the recent death of over sixty children as a result of the outbreak of Acute Kidney Injury, His Excellency President Adama Barrow during his nationwide address over the weekend gave instructions for immediate action in the reviewing medicine products act.
Given “this unfortunate incident, I direct for immediate action that the Ministry of Health works with the Attorney General’s Chambers to review and update the Medicines and Related Product Act, the Pharmacy Council Act, and all other related legislative frameworks and regulations.
“The Ministry of Health collaborates with all relevant partners and stakeholders to strengthen its detection capabilities and establish a quality control national laboratory for drugs and food safety.
He continued in his speech that “in collaboration with relevant partners and stakeholders, the Ministry of Health investigates the source of the contaminated drugs, the circumstances and procedures for importation of medicines into the country and establishes safeguards to eliminate the importation of substandard drugs.”
He noted that the World Bank is supporting the Government, and steps have been initiated to establish a quality control laboratory at the Medicine Control Agency.
Meanwhile, President Barrow commended the Ministry of Health for their timely intervention regarding the outbreak. He added that due to their timely intervention and the support from partners, the outbreak is now under control with only two cases reported in the last two weeks.
“I must state that the child mortality figure of sixty-six (66) is not at much variance with the recorded data for similar periods in the past. This notwithstanding, my government remains deeply concerned about every death in the country as well as all causes of premature deaths.
“Loss of life is always a sad moment especially when it involves tender lives. We regret the loss of each of the 66 children.”
HE, therefore, assured the public that the government of the Gambia will leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the incident. Adding “I urge you all to be vigilant enough to ensure that all medicines sold or used are safe and effective. We owe this to the nation and to the citizens to save the life of every citizen and resident of the country.”