Children rights protection needed on drug administration

Children rights protection needed on drug administration
Doctors at Maridi Hospital attend to some of the Ibba school children who developed adverse side effects of Praziquantel (photo credit: courtesy)

A basic science knowledge in school defines a drug as a “substance that when taken alters the normal body function’’. This definition points to the fact that drugs, when ingested, result in bodily reactions physiologically. One can develop a reaction based on components of the drug versus the individual’s body system, which includes hormonal makeup and so on.

This is why most medics warn against buying over-the-counter drugs which may create problems when administered without proper checkups.

No compulsion

Always when it comes to taking drugs, it is not a correct decision to impose it on the recipients. On Monday, the victims of deworming tablets who were evacuated from Maridi to Juba Teaching Hospital claimed they were forced by the school administration to take the drugs.

The botched deworming incident left over 100 learners from five different primary and secondary schools in Ibba County to fly to the hospital for their lives.

The learners developed complications after swallowing Praziquantel tablets that were given to them as part of a campaign by the ministry of health and World Health Organization (WHO) efforts to deworm children between the ages of 5 to 16 against bilharzia.

One of the four children who were are now recovering at Juba Teaching Hospital claimed they were forced to take the medicine after when they had just returned from the break time while their stomachs were empty.

If this is true, then it was not right for the school administration to subject the students to take the deworming tablets much as it was the campaign to prevent the spread of Bilharzia. The teachers and the medical personnel should have first briefed the students and not subject them under conditions.

Although, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) stands alone among the core UN human rights treaties in setting out a human right to protection from drugs, the outlines more precautions.

Article 33 provides that “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances.

Child protection against drugs should not only be considered on illicit drugs but also on the medical drugs that have no proper prescription. This means that even those drugs that are not considered illicit should be forced on the children even when they are not the condition to receive them.

According to the report from the investigative committee that was sent to Ibba County of Western Equatoria State, it was discovered that the children had taken the drugs on empty stomachs. 

The medical personnel allowed the children to take the drugs before eating anything which is advisable to any drugs on an empty stomach.  However, the statement from the World Health Organisation indicates that the reactions of the medicine showed the drug was fighting the disease in the children.  That means the 100 children who developed complications had Bilhazaria. The statement from the WHO seems not right and sounds unprofessional.