Two days after nearly 500 children from Baiganwadi slum at Govandi area fell ill due to suspected side effects of iron and folic acid tablets and had been rushed to municipal hospitals, at least four continue to remain admitted at Rajawadi hospital.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report on toxicity of drug is expected by Monday.
“These children belong to the same school, but they suffer from different ailments. One child has dengue, another suffers from dysentery and a third one has fever,” said Dr Vidya Thakur, medical superintendent of the hospital.
She added that the children came after panic spread across Baiganwadi slum, following the death of 12-year-old Chandani Shaikh on August 10. “But when we started treating them, we realised that these four children had fever due to separate reasons,” Thakur added. All of them are now stable.
“We have collected four random samples of iron and folic acid tablets to assess whether it is manufactured as per standards and whether toxicity is beyond permissible limits,” said D R Gahane, holding charge of joint commissioner (drug), FDA.
The iron and folic acid tablets are given every week under the National Iron Plus Initiative by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to prevent anaemia. In this case, 100 mg iron and 500 mg folic acid tablets were given to children aged 10-19 years. Children from classes 1 to 5 are given 45 mg iron and 400 mg folic acid tablets.
Following the death of class 6 student, Shaikh, parents rushed their children to Rajawadi and Govandi Shatabdi hospital. “Most children had mild symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and giddiness. But it is difficult to ascertain the cause until reports of water and drug samples come,” a civic official said.