By Linus Aleke, Abuja
The Gambian delegation to the Community parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has linked the death of no fewer than 70 children in the country to contaminated medical products from India.
The Gambia country report, presented at the ongoing first ordinary session of the ECOWAS parliament in Abuja, has revealed.
Also, the report scored Gambia very high in human rights protection and press freedom.
Presenting the report at plenary, the Gambian leader of opposition, Hon. Alhagie Darbo, recalled that in July 2022, the Ministry of Health reported receiving information from doctors in the country’s public hospitals about seeing increased numbers of children under five years of age who presented symptoms of acute kidney injury, with most of them having history of diarrhoea, vomiting, and fever among others.
“The National Assembly Select Committee on Health has concluded investigations into the outbreak of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and tabled its findings before the National Assembly in December 2022.
The report of the Health Committee noted that an Indian medical company,
Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd., is culpable and should be held accountable for
exporting the contaminated medicines that was linked to the death of at least.
70 children in The Gambia in 2022.
“While the actual cause of death of the children was subject to scientific investigations through causality test(s) undertaken by the Ministry of Health
and partners, all the cases of AKI are linked to the consumption of the
contaminated medical products imported by Atlantic Pharmaceuticals and manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd,” the report stated.
It noted that the government has accepted all the resolutions passed by the plenary on the recommendations of the Health Committee and the National Assembly shall continue to monitor the implementation of these resolutions.
On Human rights protection and press freedom, the report said: “The National Assembly passed two Acts that are fundamental to promoting human rights and upholding the rule of law in the country. The Acts, Hon. Darbo said, include Prevention of Torture Act 2023, and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act of 2023.
“This year, the Gambia is ranked 5th in Africa and 46th in the world among 180 member countries by the international watchdog the Reporter Without Border as a country where press freedom is highly valued. This important milestone achievement for the government of President Adama Barrow as it can boast of the fact that since it came to power in 2016, no journalist had ever been tortured or imprisoned, or a media house closed or burnt down,” the report said.