Allopathic worm medicine killed many kids in Bangladesh
Vitamin A capsule aftermath: 2 children die, govt forms probe body
Another child died reportedly from complications after taking Vitamin-A capsule and deworming tablet in Munshiganj on Sunday night as several hundred children fell sick across the country following a nationwide nourishment drive.
Piar Hossain of Ballalbari area in Sadar upazila of Munshiganj district claimed his daughter Priya Akhter, 6, fell sick after having the Vitamin-A capsule and deworming tablet and died on Sunday night.
According to media reports, 11-year-old Habib, son of Nizam Fakir, died in Doulatdia area under Goalanda upazila in Rajbari district after taking the capsule and tablet early Sunday.
Meanwhile, the government Monday formed a 5-member inquiry committee to investigate the reported outbreaks of child sickness after taking Vitamin-A capsule and deworming tablet at different places of the country, including Char Bhadrashaion in Faridpur.
Headed by Director of the Primary HealthCare Programme of Health Department Dr ABM Jahangir Alam, the probe body has been asked to report its findings to the Health and Family Welfare Secretary within 72 hours, said an official announcement.
The other members of the committee are Professor of Paediatrics of Dhaka Medical College Dr Md Eklasur Rahman, head of the Department of Epidemiology of NIPSOM Dr Anisur Rahman, Epidemiologist of ICDDRB Dr A S G Faruque and assistant director of Health Department Dr S J M Musa.
In a press briefing yesterday Health Minsiter Dr A F M Ruhal Haque said, “The programme of feeding Vitamin-A capsule, continuing in the country for the last three decades, is an effective and successful programme. There is no risk for children in it. Deworming tablet is not supposed to cause any problem.”
Citing the information obtained by the Health Department he said no serious reaction was seen among the children due to the side-effect of the capsules or tablets from the recently held Vitamin A+ campaign.
“Very few children faced problem and it was not serious,” he said.
The Minister, however, said whatever the actual matter, Health Department took “the matter of panic among parents seriously”.
“Stern action would be taken if any problem is created due to anyone’ s negligence or if anybody creates panic with ulterior motives,” he warned.
Repots reaching UNB desk said quite a few hundred children fell sick in the last two days in Naraynganj, Faridpur, Magura, Chandpur, Jhenidah and Rajbari after taking the government-supplied Vitamin-A capsules and deworming tablets. Nearly 1,000 children fell sick in Naraynganj alone.
Panic gripped the parents of the children who took the capsules and tables, manufactured by a famous Canadian company, during the Vitamin-A-Plus campaign.
Meanwhile, government authorities urged guardians not to panic as the Vitamin-A capsules and deworming tablets fed to the babies are “safe”.
“There is no question or doubt about its standard and expiry date,” the Health Minister had earlier said Sunday to pacify all concerned as reports trickled in Dhaka about mass child sickness after taking the nourishing doses.
According to the authorities, the deworming tablets were directly supplied by UNICEF and their expiry date is 2010. The tablets were also certified by WHO-another UN agency.
In Naraynganj, over 1,000 children in five upazilas in the districted reportedly fell sick after having the nourishing doses on Saturday.
Hospital sources said around 500 children had been taken to the general hospital in the town since Monday morning till evening with complications.
“Many of them were seen crying loudly out of fear, creating a somber situation in the hospital area,” says a firsthand report.
Many parents also thronged the health complexes with their children having the same complications. A large number of panic-stricken parents who fed their children with the capsules and tablets were also seen visiting doctors for checkup of their kids.
In Gopalganj, at least 800 children reportedly fell sick after taking Vitamin A capsules and deworming tablets in the district.
Around 100 children were admitted to various hospitals and health complexes in the district.
Civil Surgeon Dr Nurunnabi said the children could suffer from diarrhea and vomiting due to hot weather.
“It is not because of the reaction of the vitamin capsule or deworming tablet, and there is no risk of child death for this reason,” he said.
According to UNB correspondents, the children who fell sick after having Vitamin-A capsules and deworming tablets have been under treatment at various hospitals and health complexes in Faridpur, Jhenidah, Munshiganj, Sirajganj, Rajbari, Magura, Natore, Sunamganj, Chandpur, Madaripur and Cox’s Bazar in the last two days.
The upset came in close succession to another epidemic following school feeding of children in the hill tracts. Some 428 students of eight primary schools in Laxmichhari upazila in Khagrachhari hill district fell sick after taking biscuits distributed under feeding programme sponsored by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on June 1.
In a statement, however, the UN food organization on June 5 claimed the high-energy biscuits that caused toxicity havoc after consumption by the students in Khagrachhari were completely safe.
Over 200 kids fall sick
Health minister says medicines are safe
Over 200 more children fell sick in the last two days in Natore, Jhenidah and Faridpur after taking government-supplied Vitamin-A capsules and deworming tablets.
Meantime, Health Minister Dr AFM Ruhul Haque ruled out all doubts about the quality of the Vitamin-A capsules and deworming tablets taking which over a hundred children fell sick in Faridpur and other districts.
Our Natore correspondent reports: About 200 children were taken to the Singra Hospital with vomiting tendency and stomachache after they took Vitamin-A capsules and deworming tablets in Singra upazila.
However, only 16 of them were admitted to the hospital while the rest were released after giving treatment.
Our correspondent from Jhenidah adds: At least 33 children fell ill on Saturday after taking the medicines. They were admitted to the Jhenidah Sadar Hospital .
Some of them had been released after receiving treatment, said Civil Surgeon Niranjan Kumar Sikdar.
Our Faridpur correspondent reports: At least 10 more children fell sick in several areas in the district after taking Vitamin-A capsules and deworming tablets. Of them, six were admitted to the Faridpur General Hospital and two to the Nagarkanda Health Complex.
Our correspondent from Magura adds: several hundred parents thronged the Magura Sadar Hospital for check-up of their children on Saturday following the rumour of deaths of a few children in Faridpur, Jhenidah and Rajbari.
Meanwhile, the health minister in a statement said the Vitamin-A capsules were manufactured by a renowned Canadian pharmaceutical company and certified by the World Health Organization (WHO). The expiry date of the capsules was 2012.
The deworming tablets with validity till 2010 were supplied directly by the UNICEF, said the minister.
He said the Vitamin-A campaign has been going on successfully in the country for the last three decades.
The minister assured that the capsules are by no means harmful to children and requested the parents not to panic.
While talking to the electronic media in the afternoon the minister said about 2,521 children in some remote areas of Charbhadrasan upazila in Faridpur were given Vitamin-A capsules and deworming tablets on June 4.
Of them, 29 in a particular area got admitted to the District Sadar Hospital with diarrhoea and vomiting tendency.
Quoting the district health officials the minister said examining the facts it could be easily understood that the sickness was caused not only by the side effects of the capsules but also malnutrition, excessive heat and environmental reasons.
Moreover, the area had experienced an outbreak of diarrhoea for the last few days.
The children, who fell ill after having Vitamin-A capsules and deworming tablets, received treatment at various hospitals in Faridpur, Sirajganj, Jhenidah, Madaripur, Magura and Natore, Directorate General of Health Services said, adding that most of them had already been released.
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