Monday, December 5

Lawmakers Urged Parliament to Empower Health Committee to Investigate AKI Case

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By Binta Jaiteh

Musa Badjie, National Assembly member for Tallinding Kujang has urged the parliament to empower the select committee on health to deeply investigate the Acute Kidney Injury that resulted in the death of 70 children in the country.
Speaking during the Extra Ordinary Session as members intensify the debate on the AKI case, he said all the citizens doubt whether the drugs they are consuming are related to the AKI case, or fit for consumption.

“This is the situation that we are facing whatever decision we take is going to sanitize our health industry. This crisis has exposed us to the vulnerability of the citizenry challenges and the gaps regarding the vulnerability of the citizenry challenges and the gaps with regards to importation of drugs and the quality of drugs we consumed,” he said.

He added: “The innocent children who lost their lives have rights to live, they could have been future leaders, and now that this has happen what do we do as a country to address the situation from the future occurrence,” he told lawmakers.

Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, Minister of Health said that Acute Kidney Disease that results in the death of over 70 children is an assault on the Gambia.

“We saw the pain, anxiety, and fear of the families each time I visited the patient and we want you to know that we share your pain from the beginning as our wish is to save lives. As health workers, we hide behind and cry as much as the families.  This year, floods are known to worsen this problem, which is one of the most important causes of mortality when it comes to floods,” he added.

He recalled that in July 2022 the Ministry of Health received an emergency from the pediatric department of EFSTH reporting that they were seeing an increasing number of children less than 5 years with symptoms of AKI, noting that this information was conveyed to the disease control unit of the MOH whose mandate is to conduct surveillance and control diseases of public concerns.
“An incident management was set up to look into the AKI issue.,” he told lawmakers at the Extra-Ordinary Ordinary Session on Wednesday.

Allagie S. Darboe, NAM  for Brikama North who moved the motion stated that with great concern the news of the death of 60 children by Acute Kidney Injury is key and it is being linked to contaminated medicines and called for a special committee on Gender, Children, and Social Welfare to help the ministry to investigate the matter.

The medical control agency has instructed all healthcare workers to stop prescribing and use of these alleged contaminated drugs, recognizing the general constitutional powers of this assembly to perform oversight, over government operations and activities and the power of the national assembly to establish committees with the general mandate to inquire into the activities or organizations or Ministries.

Modou Lamin Bah, a member of Banjul North said it is unfortunate but I believe there is a need for the assembly to respond to this crisis with all the concerns and urgency which is important to determine why and how such a national tragedy could have happened. Looking at the issue it is indeed a public health emergency and in any serious nation, we cannot play with health.

Fatoumatta Cham member of Sanimentereng also noted that it is also a concern that some quantities of alleged contaminated drugs are still uncounted or recalled and these children are our own is important for the committee on gender, children, and social welfare to join the health committee and investigate this matter.