Human rights activists are pressuring the government of Nigeria to fulfill its promise to remediate lead contamination from gold mines in Zamfara District. MSF's Ivan Gayton warns that the delay is preventing treatment to hundreds of children.
This six-month progress report reviews the steps taken to achieve the Action Plan agreed by delegates at the International Conference on Lead Poisoning. It finds that on nearly all agreed action points, very little has materialized.
Kate Pittel always has had a passion for helping others and traveling the world. The Ferndale nurse found the perfect opportunity in the Doctors Without Borders program, where she volunteered for the organization’s fistula program in Nigeria.
Dallas-based nurse Kaci Hickox began working with MSF in 2007. Last March, she was sent to Nigeria to be the Doctors Without Border/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) emergency medical team leader following outbreaks of measles and meningitis. Two months later, however, she found herself in the middle of the organization’s first-ever response to lead poisoning and an international effort to assist the Nigerian authorities that came to include the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
As many as 400 children have died of lead poisoning-related illnesses in Nigeria since March, two international aid groups say, and as many as 30,000 people could be affected by lead contamination.The deaths occurred predominantly in children under the age of 5 in the state of Zamfara, according to Lauren Cooney, the emergency manager for Medecins Sans Frontieres. The group is also known by its English name, Doctors without Borders.
Treatment provided is futile if children return to contaminated sites and continue to be exposed to high lead levels. Villages known to be contaminated must urgently be cleaned up, so that exposure to lead is prevented.
Patients jammed rudimentary clinics and health workers in surgical masks sprayed anti-bacterial solution on muddy paths as the government struggled to contain a cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 800 Nigerians in two months.
In northwestern Nigeria, MSF, in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health, continues to provide emergency treatment for children under fiver years old with lead poisoning. The cleaning up of contaminted sights remains critical to treatment activities.
In northwestern Nigeria, MSF and the Nigerian health authorities have started treating 50 children who are sick with lead poisoning. The poisoning is caused by local mining practices and as many as 10,000 people may be affected.
During the last four months, MSF teams in cooperation with the national health officials have been moving quickly, following the epidemic trend, to help treat tens of thousands of patients and to proceed swiftly on a massive vaccination campaign for 7.5 million people.
This year’s meningitis outbreak in northern Nigeria has already led to the deaths of over 1,500 people. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), in cooperation with the Nigerian Ministry of Health, is carrying out a mass vaccination campaign as well as undertaking the very important task of treating the patients who are suffering from the disease.
More than 1,900 people affected by meningitis have died since the beginning of this year in an area of sub-Saharan Africa known as the meningitis belt. In Nigeria, Niger and Chad alone, MSF medical teams have treated more than 56,000 sick patients. The organization is currently vaccinating a total population of more than seven million in the three countries, the biggest vaccination campaign MSF has ever carried out.
Meningitis, a disease responsible for thousands of deaths in Africa, is currently spreading in several West African countries. While ensuring quick access to treatment for those already infected, MSF is also starting mass vaccination campaigns in Nigeria and Niger and is closely following the situation in other countries in the region. MSF is planning to vaccinate between 4 million and 5 million people against meningitis.
Following the post-electoral riots in Jos, Plateau State, where 300 people were reported killed, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) conducted an exploratory assessment and provided assistance to hospitals and clinics.
Bradley Burlingham, a member of the MSF team in Nigeria, died in a tragic accident just as he was beginning his first assignment with MSF. MSF’s deepest sympathies are with Brad’s family during this very painful time.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been managing this 70-bed trauma center since October 2005. Port Harcourt is located in the heart of Nigeria's densely populated, oil-rich Niger Delta region, where the struggle to gain power and control natural resources has sparked sporadic and deadly outbreaks of violence among a fragmented network of armed groups. Michael Mills, field coordinator for MSF in Port Harcourt, and Dr. Julie Wynne, a surgeon working in Teme hospital, talk about the recent upsurge of violence.
With the Nigerian government filing a lawsuit against the U.S. drug company, Pfizer, for clinical trials it conducted during the 1996 meningitis epidemic in Nigeria, Dr. Jean-Hervé Bradol, president of the French section of Médecins Sans Frontières, reviews MSF’s work in Nigeria that year. He emphasizes the need for more clinical research that addresses the lack of treatment options for people in Africa.
In Nigeria's densely populated, oil-rich Niger Delta region, the struggle to control power and natural resources has sparked sporadic and deadly outbreaks of violence among a fragmented network of political and criminal armed groups. The overall lack of functioning and accessible emergency medical services in the region prompted MSF to open a trauma center in October 2005 at the 70-bed Teme Hospital in Port Harcourt, the bustling capital city of Rivers state.
From July 2005 to January 2006, medical teams from MSF treated nearly 13,000 severely malnourished children at one stabilization center and 12 outpatient therapeutic feeding sites in the northern Nigerian state of Katsina.
It is with great sadness that Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) learned of the death of two of its aid workers in the airline crash which occurred in Nigeria on Saturday December 10, 2005. Hawah Kamara, 49 years of age, and Thomas Lamy, 30 years of age, were two of the passengers who perished in the crash. They had left the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to go to Port Harcourt in southern Nigeria, where MSF has a surgical program.
Following an outbreak of measles in Borno state, northern Nigeria, in March 2005, MSF conducted an emergency intervention. While the number of measles cases decreased, the nutritional status in the area was found to be of great concern, notably among small children.
Doctors Without Borders is approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (C) (3) tax-exempt organization, and all donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. Doctors Without Borders Federal Identification Number (EIN) is 13-3433452.