Press Release on Ohanaeze Youths Petition Over Jerome Nwome’s Death
January 21, 2020,
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is seriously concerned over a publication in the Punch Newspaper of 4th January, 2020 captioned ‘Ohanaeze Youths Petition NAFDAC Over Boy’s Death’.
Edward Nnachi stated in the publication that the leadership of the apex socio-cultural youth organisation in Igboland, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, on Friday 3rd January, 2020 petitioned the Federal Ministry of Health, the Ebonyi State Governor, Davis Umahi and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control over the death of a five-year-old pupil, Jerome Nwome.
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 response to the publication, NAFDAC immediately 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 investigation established the following facts:
- 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 two (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 two (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.
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 expresses sincere condolences to the family of Jerome Nwome and prayed to the Almighty God to grant the members of his family the fortitude to bear the loss.
The members of the public are implored to remain calm and sustain their confidence in genuine medicines, healthcare professionals and Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) program. The public is also advised against drawing conclusions too soon and before evidence is gathered.
NAFDAC…………… Customer Focused, Agency-minded!!!
Prof. Christianah Mojisola Adeyeye PhD, FAS.