By Nelson Manneh
The presidential task force on the Acute Kidney Injuries (AKI), has recommended for immediate dismissal of the Executive and Deputy Executive Director of the Medicines Control Agency (MCA), and to consider prosecuting them in line with the relevant laws of the Gambia, for abdicating their official duties and responsibilities.
The recommendation for the sackings was included in the report of the presidential task force which was constituted and assigned to probe into the outbreak of AKI, that killed tens of children in the Gambia, which report and recommendations were submitted to the authorities for implementation by Government.
“Considering the foregoing, and for the purpose of strengthening the MCA and the restoration of public confidence in the institution, the Executive Director of MCA has been dismissed with immediate effect and also, the contract of the Deputy Executive Director has been terminated with immediate effect. The report will also be forthwith transmitted to the Gambia Police Force for further action,” the Minister of Health Dr. Ahmad Lamin Samateh said.
The report made further recommendations for the Government of The Gambia to ensure that the Ministry of Health urgently facilitates the establishment of a fully operational National Medicines Quality Control Laboratory (NMQCL), as mandated by the Act, and according to the Minister of Health, the World Bank is helping the Government of the Gambia in establishing a Food and Drug Quality Control Laboratory in Brusubi, as a response to this recommendation, and that the architectural design and development of the FDQC Laboratory are currently ongoing, and construction work will start soon thereafter. He said Government has already tasked MCA to get support from partners, and said this is already ongoing from WHO and the Pakistani Drug Regulatory Authority. This step, he said, will continue and will be enhanced.
The report further recommended for MCA to establish a fully functional Pharmaco-vigilance Department to include: a Medicines Safety Expert Committee; Regional Hospital Monitoring and Investigation Teams, and Focal Persons at the Regional Health Directorates and Health Facilities, as required by the Regulation and for MCA to recruit students who have graduated from University of The Gambia in Bio-chemistry, Chemistry and Biological sciences, to strengthen its human resources capacity.
In reacting to this recommendation, the Minister of Health said MCA has already started this process and they are instructed to ensure the expansion of the scope for increase coverage and efficiency.