Expired medicine kills 10 children in war-ravaged Yemen

15 Oct 2022 03:42pm
Photo for illustration purposes only - 123RF Photo
Photo for illustration purposes only - 123RF Photo
ADEN, Yemen - With a touch of deep sadness in his voice, Yemeni Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz Faqih who could barely mention the loss of his only son Yazan, eventually talked about the last moments of the 8-year-old boy and nine other children who died after taking expired doses of smuggled medicine.

Faqih exclusively spoke to Xinhua that "a few weeks ago, I left my residential house in the country's central province of Ibb and headed instantly to capital Sanaa seeking a dose of medicine to relieve the pain of my boy Yazan, who was suffering from leukemia".

Following his arrival in Sanaa, which is controlled by the Houthi militia, Faqih took his son to a local public hospital that runs under the supervision of the Houthi-controlled health authorities.

At the hospital, Yazan, along with several other child leukemia patients, received a dose of medicine by injection.

"On that night, Yazan started complaining of a severe headache while his whole body was convulsing from the severity of the pain, and nurses at the hospital gave him sedatives several times," Faqih recalled.

He said that "during the next day, Yazan was ill and in a critical condition, and one of the doctors at the hospital told me that my child was administered an expired dose of a smuggled cancer medicine, advising me to transfer him to receive intensive care in a private hospital in Sanaa".

Faqih said that Yazan had remained in the intensive care unit at the private hospital in Sanaa for six days, during which he received many prescriptions, but some of the medicines were too expensive for Faqih to afford and some were not available at the local pharmacies in the city.

In the end, "Yazan couldn't overcome the consequences of the expired dose and died from complications", Faqih said, grieving the loss of his only son.

Ten children with leukemia died in the tragedy, while nine other children are in critical condition after receiving the same medicine, Houthi-run al-Masirah TV reported Friday, citing a statement by the Houthi-controlled health authorities.
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According to the local report, smuggled medicines are common for hospitals in the Houthi-controlled regions, where people have been suffering from a shortage of drugs, equipment, and funds for years.

The Yemeni Pharmacists Syndicate (YPS) has warned of the dangers of smuggled medicines spreading throughout the Arab world's poorest country, which has been embroiled in a years-long military conflict between Yemen's government and the Houthi group.

After the tragedy was revealed, the YPS called for "a transparent investigation based on reliable scientific evidence to avoid such a recurrence in the future".

Meanwhile, Yemen's internationally-recognised government based in Aden blamed the Houthi group for "such a health disaster".

The Houthi group has yet to respond to the government's accusations. - BERNAMA