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Nigeria: Lead Poisoning Continues to Affect Hundreds of Children in the Northwest
October 5, 2010
Nigeria 2010 © John Heeneman/MSF
Earlier this year, lead poisoning was confirmed among children and adults living in five villages in Zamfara State in northwestern Nigeria. Since early June, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has been providing emergency treatment for children under five years of age and breast feeding mothers, the two groups most vulnerable to the affliction.
The treatment is only effective if patients do not return to contaminated sites. Doing so would put them at risk of recontamination. However, remediation, or decontamination that involves the removal of affected soil, is a lengthy process that had to be halted in August due to heavy rains (remediation is being done by an environmental clean-up agency called Terragraphics). And the discovery of two more contaminated villages could indicate that Zamfara may be facing a much broader problem than originally thought.