Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, Minister of Health, has announced plans by the Government of the Gambia to set up a commission of inquiry that will look into the deaths of more than 80 children from Acute Kidney Injury(AKI).
Dr. Samateh made this disclosure at the National Assembly Chambers on Wednesday, 26th October 2022, during the third extraordinary session of the National Assembly in Banjul, where he affirmed that toxic drugs are the most suspected. Still, other possible causes like severe diarrhea and vomiting, bacterial infections, and complicated malaria are possible causes of AKI.
“Government is on the verge of setting up a commission of inquiry into the issue. We believe it will help identify the problems and develop recommendations to deal with the current problem and avert any future recurrences,” the country’s health minister told parliamentarians in Banjul.
He added: “We appeal to all to support the government, our health experts, and the partner experts working on establishing causality or causalities of death, assisting the police in their investigations and the commission of inquiry in the deliberation.”
“I believe our country has been assaulted; this is an aggression against our¹ people from greedy and evil people. The manufacturing, distribution, and importation of contaminated drugs is criminal, and the government sees it that way,” Minister of Health Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh told lawmakers.
The Minister further informed MPs, “However, due diligence needs to be carried out to get to the root cause of the problem. Therefore, the license of the importer is suspended. The two pharmacy outlets of the importer have been closed, and the police have started the investigations in earnest.”
Minister Samateh said Indian authorities had been contacted and, on their own, had taken steps against the manufacturer, including the factory closing.
He disclosed that the Indian authorities found a series of severe breaches at the factory, reaffirming the Gambia government’s commitment to establishing a commission of inquiry soonest.
He continues: “Detecting outbreaks of this nature that have multiple possible causes is very challenging, especially for developing countries. During this outbreak, the World Bank has agreed to construct a drug and food testing laboratory for us in the country as there is no food testing laboratory for which preliminary work has started to this effect.”