Kindergartens in three Chinese provinces have been accused of secretly administering antiviral drugs to children in order to boost attendance for revenue.
According to Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, the schools reportedly get paid based on attendance, an incentive to keeping the children healthy and in school. School officials had reportedly been administering the drugs without parents’ permission and even asked the children to keep quiet.
Almost 2,000 children who attended schools in the provinces of Shaanxi, Jilin and Hubei are receiving medical attention side effects such as dizziness, stomachaches, leg pains and genital swelling, CNN reported.
Authorities in Shaanxi said last week administrators at the Fengyun Lanwan and Hongji Xincheng kindergartens had been giving children moroxydine ABOB since 2008. Moroxydine ABOB can be used to treat the flu, but doctors know very little about its benefits, CNN said.
“Teachers told my child the pill was good for him but should be kept secret,” one parent whose child attended Fengyun Lanwan told Xinhua. “They have been taking it for nearly three years.”
The same accusations were made against Fanglin Kindergarten in Jilin City and Xingang Kindergarten in Hubei province where children reported stomachaches, irregular heartbeats, itching, vomiting and dizziness. Moroxydine ABOB is said to be used in all instances.
Xinhua called the developments a “crisis of confidence in kindergarten managers.”
“China’s preschool system has a long history of avoidable problems including food safety and physical abuse. Public trust in the system has worn very thin,” the agency said.
Some arrests have been made and authorities are looking into where the schools got the drugs.
Dozens of angry parents rallied last week in front of the facilities and local government buildings, CNN reported.