Health Ministry probes death of toddler

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The Health Ministry yesterday (20) launched a probe into the death of a three-and-a-half-year-old boy who had succumbed to a snake bite due to the alleged shortage of anti-venom.

Health Ministry sources said, the Director General of Health Services had launched a probe into Sunday’s (19) incident which had cost the life of the toddler from Mahagangoda, Kolonwinna, Galabedda.

“This investigation was initiated as there are anti-venom stocks available for six months contrary to reports that there is a shortage,” he added.

In this case, the toddler was allergic to most medicines. Therefore, the doctors at District General Hospital, Moneragala had to provide cover for the child’s anaphylaxis condition before administering the anti-venom treatment. A House Officer had written out a Chlorphenamine intravenous injection which was in short supply at the hospital to be purchased from the private sector. However, the drug was not available even in private pharmacies.

He said the Health Ministry would probe the incident.

Efforts to contact the Medical Supplies Division to inquire about the availability of Chlorphenamine IV were futile.  

Meanwhile, the All Island Private Pharmacy Owners’ Association (AIPPOA) said there was an acute shortage of ChlorphenamineIV and Paracetamol Suppositories–a treatment for mild to moderate fever in private pharmacies as well.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne