Death of girl due to pneumonia, not deworming pill, says Centre

Updated - February 17, 2016 05:43 am IST

Published - February 17, 2016 12:00 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Dismissing reports that the recent death of a girl in Uttarakhand was due to side effects of a pill administered during a national deworming drive, the Health Ministry on Tuesday said it was pneumonia which caused the death and asserted that the drug was “safe and effective”.

The Health Ministry said a report submitted by the Chief Medical Officer has “clearly negated” that the death was due to side effects of Albendazole, a deworming tablet.

“The report from the district CMO submitted to the Ministry has clearly negated this causal relationship, terming the deworming drug as safe and effective.

“According to the report, the child had been admitted to the Sushila Tiwari hospital at Haldwani on February 13, 2016 at 1.21 am with status epilepticus (epilepsy) with shock with aspiratory pneumonia and was in a critical state.

“This has also been stated to be the cause of the death of the child. The symptoms depicted by the child are not produced as a side effect of the drug Albendazole tablet, the report has noted,” the Ministry said in a statement.

According to reports, more than 50 children fell ill after being administered Albendazole in Udham Singh Nagar district in Uttarakhand on National Deworming Day on February 10.

One of the victims, an eight-year-old girl, admitted to Dr Sushila Tiwari Government Medical College and Hospital died in the medical facility during treatment on Monday.

Following this, Uttarakhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) had taken suo motu cognizance of the death and also issued a notice to the director of Health Department seeking a detailed report on the matter, reports said.

Recently more than 200 children were taken to hospitals in Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Haryana and Chhattisgarh when they complained of uneasiness after being administered Albendazole tablets on the National Deworming Day.

The Health Ministry had sought to play down the reports and said there is “no need to worry or panic” as the drug is WHO approved and has “mild side effects” on one to two per cent of the children for a short time.

The Ministry claims it to be the largest-ever single-day public health drive in the world, targeting approximately 27 crore children aged between one and 19 years throughout the country who are at a risk of parasitic worm infection. It was carried out through schools and anganwadi centres.

“Albendazole 400 mg is a safe and effective drug for the treatment of parasitic worms. It is approved by the World Health Organization for treatment of worms and used globally,” Health Minister J. P. Nadda had said.

“I want to assure the parents that there is no need to worry or panic. None of the cases reported were serious. All of them are being closely monitored. It was a huge programme where around 27 crore children were given deworming tablets,” he said.


“Chief Medical Officer has ‘clearly negated’ that the death was due to side effects of Albendazole”

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