Albendazole tablet did not kill 5-year old boy in Ebonyi, says NAFDAC

By Hassan Zaggi

National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has explained that a 5-year old boy, Jerome Nwome, an indigene of Ebonyi state did die as a result of a de-wormer tablet- Albendazole.

The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Christianah Adeyeye, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, yesterday.

According to her: “The sample of the batch of Albendazole tablets administered to the children in Ndiegu Okpuitumo Community was subjected to laboratory analysis.

“The report of analysis established that the product complies with specifications.”

The management of NAFDAC however, expressed its sincere condolences to the family of the deceased and prayed the Almighty God grant the members of his family the fortitude to bear the loss.

It would be recalled that Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, on Friday January 3, 2020, petitioned the Federal Ministry of Health, the Ebonyi State Governor, Davis Umahi and the NAFDAC over the death of a five-year-old pupil, Jerome Nwome.

In the petition, one Edward Nnachi, posited that little Jerome Nwome, a Nursery 2 pupil at the Immaculate Heart Conception in Ebonyi State died after allegedly ingesting a de-wormer known as Albendazole.

In a swift reaction, however, the management of the NAFDAC, the statement explained, constituted a team of officers to conduct investigation.

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.

The NAFDAC DG explained that the investigation carried out by the team indicated that: “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). The medicine is administered within a community by trained community drug distributors.

“The Albendazole tablets were administered to several children in Ndiegu Okpuitumo Community, including 2 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 2 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.”

NAFDAC, therefore, advised the general public against drawing conclusions too soon and before evidence is gathered.

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