By: Nyima Sillah
Lamin Sambou, Health Communications Officer at the office of the Health Promotion and Education Unit Ministry of Health has disclosed that the Ministry of Health has so far recollected 22,386 (twenty-two thousand, three hundred and eighty-Six) Acute Kidney Injury suspected syrups linked to AKI outbreak among Gambian children.
In an exclusive with The Voice on Tuesday, Sambou said the amount was collected during their past medicines recovery exercise within three regions which are West Coast Region 1, West Coast Region 2, and Upper River Region, adding that the upcoming exercise will target the entire country.
Sambou noted that the next medicine recollection exercise by the Ministry of Health will start before or on the 26th of October and it will last for 5 days or technically 6days.
He stated that at the moment, only four products were confirmed to be suspected contaminated syrups which are Promethazine Oral Suspension BP, KOFEXMALIN Baby Cough Syrup, MaKOFF Baby Cough Syrup, and MaGrip Cold Syrups.
He disclosed that the MoH collected more samples and sent them to France.
“We are waiting for France to give us the result before we can conclude that those drugs are also contaminated. We currently have four. 1 Promethazine and 3 Cough syrups but we are not going to stop there because we want to ensure that all the medicines that are given to these children are safe,” he noted.
Meanwhile, he explained that AKI is not a disease but a form of kidney damage. As a result, there is no vaccine that they can use to prevent it.
“It is not a vaccine-preventable disease, but the MOH plans to procure some medicines through WHO which are called Antidote.
They will be used as an alternative before we can be done with our investigation. It will be used for children who already consumed the suspected contaminated syrups to remedy and counteract the effects of poison,” he added.
He further said the investigations on the causes of AKI might take time.
“It might take up to December because we have to do a consultative study to know the actual causes of the AKI, to see whether there are other syrups that are causing AKI, or whether there are other viruses or bacterias that are causing the AKI so it may take time for us to conclude. We currently record 82 cases, 70 deaths, and no new cases,” he pointed out.