Nigeria must clear lead poison soil to avoid 'disaster', MSF says

November 15, 2012

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Thursday urged Nigeria to release funds promised to clean up an area where lead poison killed hundreds of children, warning that further delays could be "disastrous."

The lead poisoning crisis in northwest Zamfara state was called the worst such epidemic "in modern history" by Human Rights Watch, with an official saying 400 children were killed and thousands more affected.

In a new report, MSF called on Nigeria to release the pledged clean up funds before the end of November to ensure the was cleared before the next rainy season starts in April.

Remediation, or the process of removing the , cannot be carried out during the .

MSF said begining medical treatment before the remediation was complete would be "useless" because those treated would still face a high risk of re-infection.

According to the humanitarian group, Nigeria's federal government in May committed to providing 850 million naira ($5.4 million, 4.2 million euros), but has so far failed to deliver.

"If the funds are not released now, MSF's chance to treat the lead poisoned children of Bagega (in Zamfara state) will be drastically reduced," the report said.

Lead was dispersed in the several Zamfara areas by the processing of ore for gold extraction using unsafe mining techniques. Illicit is more lucrative than agriculture for the impoverished farming communities.

The extent of the poisoning in the area began to come to light in 2010.

Local communities had initially largely concealed or denied the fatalities and illnesses from lead poisoning for fear that authorities would ban their mining activities, MSF said previously.

Remediation has been carried out in some areas, but in the hardest hit village of Bagega and the surrounding communities "hundreds of children... continue to needlessly suffer the effects of lead poisoning."

If the clean up is not complete by April, it "could have for the community," MSF said.

Explore further: Nigeria lead poisoning 'worst in modern history': HRW

Related Stories

Nigeria lead poisoning 'worst in modern history': HRW

February 7, 2012
A lead poisoning epidemic in Nigeria's north that has killed 400 children and affected thousands is the worst in modern history, but cleanup has not even begun in many areas, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

Lead poisoning in 2,000 children in north Nigeria

October 28, 2011
Illegal gold mining has left at least 2,000 children with lead poisoning in several northern Nigerian villages, where 400 children have already died from contamination, an official said Friday.

Adverse effects of mining industry provoke hard questions for medical humanitarian organizations

August 28, 2012
Increasingly humanitarian organizations will find themselves responding to health emergencies provoked by the adverse effects of mining and other extractive industries, setting up a potential clash to do with the core principles ...

1,000 women a day die in childbirth, says MSF

March 8, 2012
About 1000 women die each day in childbirth or from preventable complications related to pregnancy, humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Sugar-sweetened beverages are harmful to health and may be addictive, researchers suggest

November 20, 2018
Just as we might have guessed, those tasty, sugar-sweetened beverages that increase risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases may actually be addictive. Youth between 13 and 18 years of age who were deprived of sugary drinks ...

Emotional abuse may be linked with menopause misery

November 19, 2018
Smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle have long been linked to heightened symptoms of menopause. Now, a study headed by UC San Francisco has identified another factor that may add to menopause torment: an emotionally ...

How AI could help veterinarians code their notes

November 19, 2018
A team led by scientists at the School of Medicine has developed an algorithm that can read the typed-out notes from veterinarians and predict specific diseases that the animal may have.

Bullying and violence at work increases the risk of cardiovascular disease

November 19, 2018
People who are bullied at work or experience violence at work are at higher risk of heart and brain blood vessel problems, including heart attacks and stroke, according to the largest prospective study to investigate the ...

A low-gluten, high-fiber diet may be healthier than gluten-free

November 16, 2018
When healthy people eat a low-gluten and fibre-rich diet compared with a high-gluten diet, they experience less intestinal discomfort including less bloating. Researchers at University of Copenhagen show that this is due ...

Youth dating violence shaped by parents' conflict-handling views, study finds

November 16, 2018
Parents who talk to their children about nonviolent ways of resolving conflict may reduce children's likelihood of physically or psychologically abusing their dating partners later—even when parents give contradictory messages ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.