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Former medical director defends cough syrups

By | March 20th 2009

By Lucianne Limo

Former Director of Medical Services James Nyikal has termed the raging debate on cough syrups as ‘professional arguments’.

Dr Nyikal said the syrups administered to children are safe.

"As far as I am concerned, there is no danger and has never been," Nyikal who was at the helm of the health sector prior to his appointment as the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Gender and Children.

Nyikal sought to reassure parents that Kenyan children who had used the syrups are safe and will remain so.

Science keeps changing, Nyikal said, and when it happens we cannot keep making people feel unsafe.

Give guidelines

Nyikal, a paediatrician, said he was not at liberty to give guidelines on the use of such medicine.

"I cannot recommend how syrups should be used because it is not my mandate," he added.

Nyikal was speaking after launching of National Council for Children’s Services Charter and Validation of Strategic plan at a Nairobi hotel, yesterday.

The Aga Khan University Hospital kicked off the raging debate last week after announcing they had withdrawn the medicines from their shelves.

Gertrude’s Children Hospital followed suit and withdrew the medicines for children from its pharmacy.

The Government has since admitted it does not stock the medicines while Kenyatta National Hospital says they have not administered the drugs on children for the last 12 years.

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