During the harmattan, due to the dustiness and coldness of the season, most people often come down with a cold. It was during this season that Esther’s neighbour’s four-year-old child, Tunde, had a terrible cold.
The little boy, Tunde, had a hacking cough that kept him awake through the nights, and the parents were too busy to take him to the hospital.
Esther had visited the family on a Sunday evening, and while conversing, she advised her neighbour, Tunde’s mother to take Tunde to the hospital for proper diagnosis and drug administration, but she said it was not necessary and that she had sent her younger sister to purchase a cough syrup from the pharmacy store.
Esther came back that evening, and she expressed her concern to her husband, Ubong. She feared that something might happen to the child. Esther opposes self-medication and despises it for children. Ubong calmed her down and reminded her it was just cough syrup, and nothing would happen. The next morning, around 4 AM, Tunde’s mother had begun to scream, calling for help and knocking on the neighbours’ doors.
Esther and her husband, Ubong, rushed to her apartment and saw her trying to resuscitate Tunde.
Immediately, Ubong instructed the wife to help Tunde’s mother to get Tunde outside. Then he dashed into his house, picked up his key, ran out and drove them straight to the nearest hospital.
When they got to the hospital that morning, the doctors tried to resuscitate him, but it was fruitless. Finally, they broke the news to Tunde’s mother, Esther, and her husband, Ubong.
Esther and Ubong were disheartened by the event, but Tunde’s mother was devastated. After some investigation, it was discovered that the syrup given to the boy had diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol (EG). Esther could not stomach her pain, as she had a premonition that something bad would happen to Tunde. Mama Tunde went home that day with ‘had I known’ powdered all over her face in grief.
Vital Info: The World Health Organisation, on the 23rd of January 2023, released a report detailing cases from at least seven countries with 300 fatalities of children mostly under the age of five which resulted from the consumption of over-the-counter cough syrups contaminated with high levels of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol. These contaminants are toxic chemicals used as industrial solvents and antifreeze agents that can be fatal even in small amounts and should never be found in medicines.
Note: When you want to purchase over-the-counter cough syrup, please check the content to see if it contains Diethylene Glycol and Ethylene glycol
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