By: Foday Manneh
Following a closed-door meeting with the Minister of Health, Dr. Amadou Lamin Samateh, the National Assembly Select Committee on Health has confirmed 82 cases of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) as recorded to date in the country.
The meeting on Monday, October 17, 2022, was attended by officials from the Health Ministry, the Medicines Control Agency (MCA), and the Pharmacy Council, among others.
When approached after the meeting, Dr. Samateh declined to make any comments.
However, Hon. Modou Lamin Bah, the vice chairperson of the Select Committee, was forthcoming.
He told reporters: “We were informed that we have 82 cases of AKI right now, out of which 70 have died, including seven who passed away in Senegal.
Hon. Bah described the number of AKI cases as “alarming” and added that “the Ministry of Health remains concerned and is working closely with partners to get to the bottom of this issue.”
According to Hon. Bah, the area with the most cases of AKI in the country is the Health Western Region 1.
“We also had the privilege to know that we have 21 licensed medicines importers in The Gambia.”
Bah, also the NAM for Banjul North, further shared the information that there were 10 different types of medicines imported by the Maiden Pharmaceutical Company, including the four cough and cold syrups linked to the deaths of the children.
“The medicines arrived in the country in June 2022,” he added.
Regarding talk of legal action, he said the government was already in diplomatic communication with India, where the syrups came from, and had promised to establish a commission of inquiry.
Asked if the Health Minister has accepted responsibility for the death of the children, the NAM responded: “Of course, these are things that cannot be hidden anymore.”
He further informed the press: “We have requested some relevant things, particularly the certificate of analysis. The MCA promised to provide that soon. This is just the beginning of what we want to do.
“We have received good information from the Ministry and MCA. Therefore, we are also planning to hold an extraordinary session on the issue,” Hon. Bah announced.