Accountability for the deaths of 70 children, speedy compensation for the loss and robust measures to prevent recurrence are demanded. The integrity of the government is at stake. A government must be able to protect the lives of its citizens.
Because of the long delay in acting, the public was pushed into a state of doubt as to whether there is enough evidence of the cause of death. However the presidential taskforce has informed the public that the deaths had a cause. They have the evidence that it was caused by the syrup.
The immediate task is for the government to work with WHO to establish a legal team to assist the government in pursuing those responsible for the manufacturing of the syrup and ensure that they take full responsibility for the loss.
There is recommendation by the task force for the company that imported the syrup to have its licence revoked. The pharmacist working with the company is referred to the pharmacy council for disciplinary action and the executive director of the Medicines Control Agency has been flagged for termination of office.
The chronic problem that wholesalers and retailers of medicinal products are having is the inadequacy of the number of pharmacists. A proper study should be done to know the number of pharmacists and number of wholesalers and retailers of medicinal products to make adequate provision for proper supervision of the sale of medicinal products. In the short run, it may be absolutely necessary to recruit pharmacists to serve in The Gambia until an adequate number is trained by the institution recommended by the task force.