Shaanxi govt clamps down on un­re­ported medicine at schools

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By MA LIE in Xi’an malie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Shaanxi prov­ince’s ed­u­ca­tion author­ity told schools and kinder­gartens on Wed­nes­day not to mass-dis­trib­ute medicine to their stu­dents with­out au­tho­riza­tion.

The provin­cial Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment’s emer­gency no­ti­fi­ca­tion fol­lows al­le­ga­tions that 1,455 kinder­gart­ners in Xi’an re­ceived a pre­scrip­tion drug with­out their par­ents’ per­mis­sion this school year.

“Any school or kinder­garten that wants to give medicine to its stu­dents for dis­ease preven­tion should re­port this in ad­vance with a de­tailed plan, and it may im­ple­ment the dis­ease preven­tion plan only af­ter get­ting ap­proval,” the no­ti­fi­ca­tion said.

All pri­mary and mid­dle schools as well as kinder­gartens should learn from the painful les­son of the re­cent unau­tho­rized dis­tri­bu­tion of pre­scrip­tion medicine and en­hance their man­age­ment to en­sure chil­dren’s safety, the no­ti­fi­ca­tion said.

The in­ci­dent is more se­ri­ous than orig­i­nally be­lieved, as an in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed that the num­ber of chil­dren who got the unau­tho­rized pre­scrip­tion medicine was more than dou­ble what was first re­ported.

Shaanxi Party chief Zhao Zhengy­ong, Shaanxi Gover­nor Lou Qin­jian and Xi’an Party chief Wei Minzhou all in­structed their de­part­ments to han­dle the case prop­erly.

On Mon­day, a num­ber of par­ents in Xi’an, the provin­cial cap­i­tal, went to the pri­vate Fengyun kinder­garten and de­manded to be told why drugs were given to their chil­dren.

“I won­der why they gave the harm­ful drug to my kid if she was not ill,” said a mother sur­named Cheng, whose 5-yearold daugh­ter at­tends the kinder­garten.

The event drew the at­ten­tion of the lo­cal govern­ment, which soon sent to the school a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion team from the city’s ed­u­ca­tion, health and pub­lic se­cu­rity bu­reaus and the food and medicine ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed that the pri­vate kinder­garten, es­tab­lished in 2007, had il­le­gally given guani­dine hy­drochlo­ride to the chil­dren for four years. Kinder­garten man­ager Zhao Baoy­ing told the par­ents and in­ves­ti­ga­tion team that the kinder­garten gave the stu­dents the medicine to keep them from catch­ing cold.

But med­i­cal ex­perts said that the drug is for treat­ment, not preven­tion.

The drug is used to treat vi­ral in­fluenza or her­pes virus in­fec­tions. Its side ef­fects in­cludes sweat­ing, loss of ap­petite and low blood su­gar.

Many par­ents com­plained that their chil­dren had some ad­verse ef­fects to the medicine, in­clud­ing stomachaches, itchy skin and sleep hyper­hidro­sis, more com­monly known as night sweats.

On Wed­nes­day, po­lice de­tained the kinder­garten’s owner, Sun Xue­hong; Zhao, the man­ager; and the school physi­cian, Huang Linxia. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion team found that Huang was not a qual­i­fied doc­tor and not al­lowed to give pre­scrip­tion drugs to pa­tients.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion team said it learned that the Fengyun kinder­garten’s 692 stu­dents weren’t the only ones get­ting the drug. The Hongji Xincheng kinder­garten, also owned by Sun, also gave the drug to its 763 stu­dents. De­tails of that school’s al­leged drug dis­tri­bu­tion are still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

The Hongji Xincheng kinder­garten man­ager, sur­named Mei, and its deputy man­ager, sur­named Zhao, were also de­tained by po­lice.

The city govern­ment has ar­ranged to have all 1,455 chil­dren from the two kinder­gartens get free health ex­am­i­na­tions, and the lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion author­ity has sent new man­agers and teach­ers to the two schools.

LI YIBO / XIN­HUA NEWS AGENCY

A mother holds her son at the gate of a pri­vate kinder­garten, Hongji Xincheng, in Xi’an, Shaanxi prov­ince, on Thurs­day. In­ves­ti­ga­tors said school of­fi­cials ad­min­is­tered pre­scrip­tion an­tivi­ral drugs to chil­dren. The num­ber of chil­dren who were given the medicine was raised to 1,455.

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