Anxiety has trailed the recent claim that 70 children have died in Gambia as a result of kidney disease after consuming cough syrups containing promethazine chemicals.
In July 2022, the Gambia government announced a ban on the drugs, following a laboratory test that was carried out in both Senegal and Ghana to confirm the toxicity of the substance.
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The Gambian Minister of health and other top health officials as well as regulatory bodies have also begun investigations into the matter.
In Nigeria, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), however, warned against the patronage of the substance.
Similarly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a video broadcast banned the usage of the drug and called on parents to desist from giving it to their children.
Health workers in the Gambia have also commenced a door-to-door inspection, in a bid to get rid of the substance from households.
Further investigations revealed that the syrup contains two odourless and colourless chemicals that have proven to be killing children.
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The syrup has been traced to a pharmaceutical company in India, Maiden Pharm, which supplies a higher portion of it to African countries, according to reports.
India is responsible for ⅓ of the medicine supply in the world, BBC Hausa reported.
The Indian government has also been reported to have banned Maiden Pharm from producing the drug.
It is not clear whether the drug is presently in circulation in other African countries. But parents are advised to take their kids to the hospital when sick and act strictly according to the doctor’s prescription.