Gambia.. Families Seek Justice and Reform Following Tragic Deaths from Toxic Cough Syrup

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In the year 2022, a devastating incident unfolded in Gambia as 70 children lost their lives after ingesting cough syrup manufactured in India. Subsequent studies revealed the presence of toxic substances in the syrup. Twenty grieving families took legal action against Gambian health authorities and the manufacturing laboratory. With the verdict set for December 5th, these families are poised to present a set of proposals to the government in a meeting scheduled for this Thursday.

The bereaved families have outlined five key requests. They are seeking $200,000 in damages per victim and advocating for the establishment of a memorial dedicated to the departed children. Additionally, parents are calling for reforms to ensure the quality of medications entering the country and for distribution permissions to be granted exclusively to qualified entities. Ibrahim Sagnia, a representative of the families, emphasized, “We are doing this to attain justice.”

In their upcoming meeting with authorities, the construction of a memorial emerges as a pivotal point. Sagnia explains, “The memorial holds significance, and we need the government’s support for its realization. It will serve as a poignant reminder to Gambians that this syrup claimed lives. Each year, people can revisit and remember these children.”

Sagnia underscores that monetary compensation, while a consideration, is not the primary focus. He remarks, “If money could bring back a life, we would not have lost our children. The paramount objective is to enhance the healthcare sector, ensuring the presence of qualified doctors and staff, and guaranteeing equal treatment for every patient, regardless of their background. We have already lost our children, but we never want this to happen again. Our profound hope is to protect others’ children and patients in general.”

Anticipating counter-proposals from the government, the families remain resolute in their pursuit of justice. The trial verdict is slated for December 5th.

Soukaina Sghir

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