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NAFDAC explains death of two-year old after taking de-wormer, Albendazole


*Says laboratory analysis established that product complies with specifications, was forced down throat of victim without water
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has provided explanation on the death of little Jerome Nwome, a Nursery 2 pupil at the Immaculate Heart Conception in Ebonyi State after allegedly ingesting a de-wormer known as Albendazole.

NAFDAC was forced to investigate the unfortunate incident and provide explanation after a publication in one of the national dailies on January 4, 2020 captioned “Ohanaeze Youths Petition NAFDAC Over Boy’s Death.”

According to the publication, the leadership of the apex socio-cultural youth organisation in Igboland, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, on Friday January 3, 2020 petitioned the Federal Ministry of Health, the Ebonyi State Governor, Davis Umahi and NAFDAC over the death of a five-year-old pupil, Jerome Nwome.

Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Christianah Mojisola Adeyeye, told journalists that in response to the publication, the agency immediately constituted a team of officers to conduct investigation. She said the members of the team met and discussed with officials of the Federal Ministry of Health, Ebonyi State Government and family members of Jerome Nwome.

Adeyeye said the investigation established the following facts:
• Albendazole tablets used in Ebonyi State is officially donated to the Nigerian Government through the Federal ministry of Health.
• The medicine is donated for use on Federal Ministry of Health ongoing program on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Trained community drug distributors administered the medicine within a community.
• The Albendazole tablets were administered to several children in Ndiegu Okpuitumo Community, including two children in the same household as Jerome Nwome.
• Jerome Nwome, the deceased collected Albendazole tablets but refused to take the medicine in the presence of the trained community drug distributor.
• In the absence of the community drug distributor, the two children in the same household as Jerome Nwome, held him by the throat and forced the medicine to his mouth without water. After taking the medicine without water, he coughed.
• They later gave him water to swallow the medicine and after swallowing the medicine, he staggered. In the process of staggering, he fell down and became unconscious. He was rushed to a health centre where he was confirmed dead.

The NAFDAC DG said the sample of the batch of Albendazole tablets administered to the children in Ndiegu Okpuitumo Community was subjected to laboratory analysis and the report of analysis established that the product complies with specifications.

Adeyeye said: “The Management of NAFDAC expresses sincere condolences to the family of Jerome Nwome and prayed to the Almighty God to grant the members of his family the fortitude to bear the loss.

“The members of the public are implored to remain calm and sustain their confidence in genuine medicines, healthcare professionals and Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) programme. The public is also advised against drawing conclusions too soon and before evidence is gathered.”

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