By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh
Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a medical product alert in the Gambia linked to the death of 66 Gambian children, Gambians have reacted to the news, some calling for the resignation of Dr. Ahmad Lamin Samateh, the Health Minister of the country.
Yesterday, WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a media briefing that they have issued a medical product alert for four contaminated medicines in the Gambia that are products of an Indian pharmaceutical company, and are believed to have been the cause of death of 66 Gambian children through Acute Kidney Injury(AKI).
Reacting to this revelation by WHO, national treasurer of Gambia Democratic Congress, Lamin KB Bojang said health authorities have been failing Gambians.
“I just can’t imagine that syrups are imported from a country that are not using them and you allow that in our pharmacies without any proper laboratory test on them,” he asserted.
Lamin, who has now lost hope in the health ministry, has called on Dr. Ahmad Lamin Samateh to resign or be sacked with immediate effect.
“He should resign or be sacked with immediate effect since he knows exactly what is going on in the sector. In any serious country the Minister of Health will not keep his job for even thirty seconds after this revelation. Earlier in the year, we have witnessed the sacking of Senegalese Minister of Health after an inferno consumed a hospital and claimed the lives of eleven kids. Even though I do not agree with Macky on a lot of issues I believe he got this one spot on
In our own case, we lost sixty-six beautiful young souls due to avoidable circumstances and the minister continues to be paid salary from taxpayers’ money. That’s ridiculous and outrageous,” he commented
He further calls for a further investigation to be done on the whole issues so that those responsible can be punished.
According to the Director General of WHO, the four medicines that are causing the Acute Kidney Injury and the death of children in The Gambia are cough and cold syrups produced by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited in India.
Main opposition UDP’s Youth Wing National Secretary, Kemo Bojang, says the President or the Minister of Health should resign.
“You cannot lose 66 babies to negligence and act like it’s a minor issue. I call on the Honourable Minister to do the honourable thing and learn a thing from IGP Kinteh’s book.”
A press release from the Indian government says that the company has manufactured and exported these medicines to only The Gambia.