Gambian Govt Inaugurates campaign to end alleged killer Syrups

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The Gambian government has inaugurated an urgent door-to-door campaign to remove cough and cold syrups blamed for the deaths of more than 60 children from kidney injuries in the West African country.

This was disclosed by the Director of Gambia Ministry of Health, Dr Mustapha Bittaye who confirmed the wave of child deaths from acute kidney injury, sending shockwaves across the country of 2.4 million people worldwide.

Also, the U.N.’s World Health Organization has issued an alarm in response to the deaths, saying it had been working with Gambia’s government to investigate the cause of the cases and deaths since August.

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

“The loss of young lives is beyond heartbreaking for their families.” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.

WHO said the four medicines are cough and cold syrups produced by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited in India.

While the contaminated products have only been detected in the Gambia, they may have been distributed to other countries, WHO said. The U.N. health agency said it is pursuing investigations with India’s company and regulatory authorities.

“WHO recommends all countries to detect and remove these products from circulation to prevent further harm to patients”.

Gambia’s Medical Research Council has also issued an alarm.

“Over the last week, we admitted a child with this condition (acute kidney injury) … and she has unfortunately died. We were able to confirm that she had taken one of the drugs that are suspected to be causing this, prior to her arrival at our clinic. It had been bought at a pharmacy within The Gambia.

“The drug has been identified as containing a significant amount of a toxin which damages kidneys irreversibly.”

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