1,000 KIDS HOSPITALIZED (Deworming drug not expired, says DOH-9) PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 31 July 2015 11:31

by Bhong Simbajon

The Department of Health Regional Office-9 on Thursday denied reports that the deworming medicine distributed to all public schools in the region has past its shelf life, the allleged cause of sudden illness of more than 1,000 grade schoolers in different provinces and cities during the simultaneous nationwide deworming day in the entire country.

In an interview with RMN Zamboanga, DOH-9 Local Health Support Program head Dr. Josh Brillantes said the generic deworming drug named Adbendazole which  the health department has purchased and which was given to the school children all over the region Wednesday has an expiry date of 2017 and 2018.

Advendazole targets different kinds of worm even its larvae and the effect when taken is stomach discomfort, vomiting, headache or even dizziness, Brillantes explained.

“There is no truth to the reports that we have given expired medicines to the children, it’s purely allegations. We expect adverse reactions by the human body of those children who have taken the deworming pill, but not that much,” Brillantes said.

Reports received by RMN Zamboanga disclosed that in Dipolog City, 20 children have been admitted to the hospital upon deworming, 75 in Alicia, Zamboanga Sibugay, 11 in Zamboanga City, 44 in Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte, 25 in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte and there are many others unregistered and were outpatient.  DOH9 has yet to confirm the conflicting figures given and those which were officially reported to them.

Alicia District Hospital administrator Miriam Galanido told RMN that they had a hard time accommodating 275 patients at one time, 75 of who were admitted in their 25- bed capacity hospital. Dextrose was given to the young patients to  rehydrate after vomiting and experiencing severe stomach pain and headache.

Dr. Suaib Sur Edding of Sibuco District Hospital also said that most of the children rushed to the hospital came from Barangay Paniran in Sibuco. They also experienced similar symptoms. Of the 44 patients medicated, only 5 remained in the hospital for further medical observation while others were given medicines for stomach pain,nausea and vomiting.

However Dr. Brillantes said the symptoms of vomiting, abdominal pain and nausea are expected among those children who have taken the deworming medicine and are normal reactionswhich the parents should not worry about.

“That’s why we have strongly advised the teachers and parents of the public school children who were the target of the said program to have sufficient food intake before taking the said medicine to minimize the medicine reactions,” he said.

“During our orientation with the Department of Education, we made it clear that the teachers should assure that the children to be given the deworming drug should be in full stomach. In Zamboanga City, a parent’s consent and waiver was even signed by parents before deworming,” Brillantes said.

He assured the public that DOH is in full monitoring and are in touch with the patients and will come up with their comprehensive investigation on the matter as to the reactions of the said medicine.

The health official said there is no cause for alarm and panic, because the situation is under control and the department is strictly at hand with each and every development of such cases all over the region. — Bhong Simbajon/RMN News