There has been an epidemic of lead poisoning related deaths in Zamfara since 3-10.
Over 100 children have been affected by lead poisoning complications in Anka and Bukkuyum Local Government Area in Zamfara in the first quarter of 2013, an international organisation, Medicines Sans Frontiers, MSF, has said.
The MSF Project Manager, Zakariya Mawattia, revealed this in Anka on Wednesday at a stakeholders’ meeting.
He said that the rate at which fresh cases were recorded was alarming in spite of the concerted efforts of the MSF, government and other organisations to control lead poisoning affliction among children.
“Between December 2012 and March 2013, we recorded an average of thirty to forty fresh cases of complicated lead poisoning in children from Bagega and six other affected mining communities every month.
“This has become a source of serious concern to us and other organisations that are involved in the control of lead poisoning effect on children.
“What is giving us more concern is the fact that the officials of the federal and state ministries of health have not demonstrated sufficient commitments to partner with us in the intervention so that by the time MSF winds up, the state health personnel can take over.
“As it is, MSF is afraid that when it finally disengages from the country, there is nobody on ground to manage the lead poisoning disease,” he said.
According to him, MSF is ready to offer technical services and expertise to government officials so that they can handle cases of lead poisoning.
The Zamfara Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals Development, Mukhtar Lugga, while speaking, expressed the readiness of government to partner with the MSF.
He commended MSF and other organisations for their support and assistance toward controlling the impact of lead poisoning in the state.
He said that the federal and state governments had embarked on the remediation of the village and were determined to complete it before the commencement of the rainy season.
He said that the action was a response to the MSF’s conditions for setting its lead poisoning clinic in Bagega.
Since 2010, there has been an epidemic of lead poisoning due to improper mining procedures including mining with improper tool. Children have been worst hit, with about 400 children dead from and 3,500 children needing live saving treatment, the Human Rights Watch said on its webpage.
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