By: Kebba AF Touray
Members of the National Assembly, while debating on the AKI Report submitted by the Assembly’s Health Committee on the just concluded Parliamentary Inquiry, said the Gambia Government should bear responsibility on the deaths of 60+ Gambian children.
Commenting on the report, the Member for Kiang West Constituency challenged the committee to make a conclusion on the root causes of AKI. He added that the committee has engaged relevant stakeholders in their inquiries and as such if the committee has trust in those stakeholders, they should be able to conclude what the root causes of the AKI are. He however faulted the random sampling of the imported medicines as improper, stating that with this method, some other contaminated medicines can be left out.
“Looking at the recommendation, there is nowhere the parliament is put in on the follow up of matters to ensure that the recommendations are fully implemented but rather, everything is left in the hands of the Government and the Health Ministry,” he said.
According to him, this is self-contradictory, adding that the assembly blames the government and the health ministry for negligence in the death of the said children, and yet they are given the responsibility to implement the recommendation leaving the lawmakers out of the implementation process.
On his part, the Member for Busumbala Constituency Muhammed Kanteh, said in any situation there is the dire need to identify the real perpetrators in the case of AKI as well as the real duty bearers.
“Primarily the government of the Gambia is one of the duty bearers, and also the Ministry of Health, Medicine Control Agency (MCA) and the Atlantic Pharmaceutical. Going by the recommendation of the committee there is no point that indicates the following duty bearers could be culpable of what had happened, but rather the Maiden Pharmaceutical company is being singled out as being culpable for the alleged deaths of the said children,” he said.
He added that the report of the assembly’s health committee is unfair. He said the Committee should have holistically look at the players and actors in the issue of AKI, adding that the loss of lives caused a national mourning, stressing that the AKI has claimed the life of a generation of 70 plus children, who could have been prominent future leaders such as Presidents, Speakers of the National Assembly.
“They were deprived of that opportunity, because they met their untimely death because the primary duty bearers of this country failed to protect them,” he emphasized.
Member for Foni Kansala, Almameh Gibba, said that the death of 70 plus children is a national disaster and concern to the entire Gambian populace.
“Facts are very clear and are in the open for everybody to see. MCA has emphasised that nothing can be done without a testing machine after years of establishment it has not happened. It means as a country we are not even safe, and drugs can enter the country wherever it is coming from, and no machine is available to do the scientific test,” he said.
He added that this is an urgent matter and that in a week’s time all resources should be in place to make sure that the matter is amicably restored to order, without having to count on the support of the World Bank.
He expressed that the AKI deaths are a concern to them, but stated that the government should accept responsibility for the deaths of 60 plus children.