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Bilharzia drug kills three children
November 06, 2013
have reportedly died in Harare and Redcliff after taking the bilharzia
drug, but government was yesterday adamant that it would not stop
the mass drug immunisation programme.
Health and Child Care Dr Gerald Gwinji said his ministry had engaged
a pathologist to investigate the deaths, adding that the immunisation
exercise had in fact been extended to Friday due to overwhelming
not going to abandon the programme. We are using the medicine that
has been used for a long time,” Gwinji said.
reports that there are three children who died, but we are investigating
first. We do not arbitrarily abandon the programme because the medicine
has benefits to children and surveys were made that showed massive
comment could not be obtained from Health and Child Care minister
David Parirenyatwa yesterday, Gwinji said:
investigating the cause of the death of these three children. The
results will be shared with citizens. These are just challenges
in any programme, but we are not supposed to ignore them. Some parents
also do not divulge that their children have other illnesses and
it affects them.”
The three children
from Budiriro, Kambuzuma and Redcliff - aged between five and eight
- reportedly started vomiting and developed diarrhea the same day
that they had taken the medication, raising fears that the drug
could have caused their death.
Parents in some
parts of the country have reportedly withdrawn their children from
the immunisation exercise which is targeting about 4,6 million children
afford to take a risk and, therefore, I have withdrawn that (indemnity)
letter that I signed and stopped my child from being immunised,”
a parent from Norton who refused to be identified said.
organisation, Youth Development Trust, yesterday expressed outrage
over the deaths and urged the Health and Child Care ministry to
get to the bottom of the matter.
in Development Trust notes with concern the recent death of the
three innocent lives after the bilharzia vaccination programme that
was conducted in schools last week and this week by the Ministry
of Health and Child Care,” the organisation in a statement
concerned that this has happened on the backdrop of a similar case
in which another child died last year after another vaccination
exercise by the same ministry. As a youth advocacy group, we are
demanding an explanation from the ministry as this erodes the trust
that we may have of the health delivery system in the country.”
Youth in Development
Trust said what was even more worrying was that the deaths come
hard on the heels of media reports of toxic ARVs that were still
being administered by Government to HIV positive people.
reports are true, then there is serious need to investigate such
issues and set up a commission of inquiry to establish and correct
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