Following the death of two infants at Nampally UPHC in Hyderabad, the government now making it compulsory to give paracetamol in the syrup-form following immunisation. While the move may be welcome with its concomitant funds, doctors say that the root cause remains unsolved.

“Just ensuring syrup is not enough as there can be syrups with similar packaging causing confusion like in the case of tablets. It is necessary that government hospitals keep a list of similar sounding and/or looking medicines in order to better educate nursing and pharmacy staff about the same,” Dr Sharmila Kaza, paediatrician at Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad.

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A change in the very system followed at the primary health centres. It is also important to note how the incident has brought the differences in quality of healthcare extended to the poor and the rich back in the spotlight.

Paediatricians from private hospitals across the city, while speaking to Express, said how they prescribe only paracetamol syrups to younger children instead of tablets. While in most of the government hospitals, which incidentally give out free medicines, crushed tablets are the norm for achieving the required dosage for children.

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However, in government hospitals, nurses tend to give entire tablets while leaving it to parents to cut them in four, as was the case in Nampally UPHC. Even if the children are given tablets, the national quality assurance standards which mention ‘one fourth of a paracetamol tablet should be given to every caregiver’ need to be followed.

Speaking to #KhabarLive, Niloufer hospital, SI, Dr Murali Krishna said that 19 children have been discharged and the remaining 15 who are younger will be kept a while longer. #KhabarLive