WHO opens investigation into 66 child deaths in The Gambia

The syrup could be the main cause of these deaths and there are concerns about its marketing in other countries.

The WHO on Wednesday (October 5) issued an alert about cough and cold syrups manufactured by Indian laboratory Maiden Pharmaceuticals that may have caused the deaths of 66 children in The Gambia and were distributed in other countries.

The WHO issued a warning on Wednesday that cough and cold syrups made by India’s Maiden Pharmaceuticals may have killed 66 children in The Gambia and been distributed in other countries.

It was the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who proclaimed this himself.Medical product warningduring his weekly press briefing on health issues around the world. The tainted drugs are cough and cold syrups that “may be linked to acute kidney damage and the deaths of 66 children“, he said.

These are four products: Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup. They are all manufactured by the same company, Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited. “WHO is investigating with the company and regulators in Indiasaid dr tedros

In the technical document of the alert, the WHO states that “Laboratory analysis of samples from each of the four products confirms contamination with diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol at unacceptable levels“. Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic and can be fatal.

According to the WHO, toxic effects include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, inability to urinate, headache, altered mental status and acute kidney damage, which can lead to death. The Geneva-based organization says the four contaminated drugs were identified in The Gambia but could be distributed elsewhere in the world through informal markets.

All batches of these products should be considered unsafe until they can be tested by the relevant national regulatory authorities.‘, according to the WHO. As a precaution, the WHO recommends that all countries track down and phase out these drugs.

On September 9, Gambian health authorities announced they had opened an inquiry into the recent deaths of 28 children from acute kidney failure in mid-July, and urged hospitals and clinics to stop using paracetamol syrup. Authorities had also named E. coli bacteria as a possible cause. But on September 23, health authorities in The Gambia ordered the recall of all drugs containing paracetamol or promethazine syrup.

Gambia, the smallest country on mainland Africa with just over two million inhabitants, ranks 174 out of 191 on the UN Human Development Index, which combines the criteria of health, education and standard of living. According to the World Bank, almost half of the population there lives below the poverty line.

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