China / Society

Guangzhou starts kindergarten inspections for unauthorized medicines

By Li Wenfang in Guangzhou ( Updated: 2014-03-20 21:44

District-level education and health bureaus in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, started on Thursday a 22-day inspection on the unauthorized provision of medicines in kindergartens across the city.

The city education bureau will supervise such inspection between April 7 and 11, according to a statement issued by the bureau.

The move came after some kindergartens in Hubei, Shaanxi and Jilin provinces were exposed by the media to have given their children moroxydine, a prescription drug that fights the flu virus, without informing parents.

The Ministry of Education and the National Health and Family Planning Commission issued a notice on Tuesday requiring that education and health departments across the country inspect kindergartens and primary and middle schools for any cases in which children have been forced to take medicines without permission.

The notice said there are five conditions that kindergartens and schools must meet before giving medicine to large numbers of children.

Premier Li Keqiang called on Wednesday for governmental departments to tighten management of kindergartens and primary and middle schools to prevent similar cases from occurring.

"My daughter said she had been drinking salt water every morning at her kindergarten, but I didn't know it. I will ask her teachers to see whether it is just salt water," said a mother surnamed Dong in Guangzhou.

Dong said she has become anxious about what her daughter is fed at the kindergarten after the recent reports on illegal medicine in schools.

Guangzhou has 1,601 kindergartens, of which 1,220 are private, according to statistics compiled in 2012 by the city's education bureau.

Kindergartens in Guangzhou commonly give children herbal drinks according to weather conditions for better physical internal balance.

They are allowed to do so if the herbs are considered to be both medicine and food as classified by health authorities, according to the Guangzhou education bureau.

Herbal drinks to combat flu are also acceptable if they are approved by experts and parents are informed of their provision.

Children at Zhisheng Kindergarten in Guangzhou consume an herbal drink once a month, said Kang Suying, president of the school. Parents are informed of the drink, which is listed in the school's menu posted on the information board at the kindergarten.

The kindergarten's healthcare worker gives children medicine only with a slip of instruction signed by their parents.

The kindergarten does not accept health supplements, herbal drinks or decoctions of prescribed traditional Chinese medicine from parents, Kang said.

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