Country Representative Medicines Sans Frontiers ‘MSF’ (Doctors Without Borders), Ivan Gayton has commended the federal government for the release of funds for the treatment of victims of lead poisoning in Zamfara State.
In a statement, yesterday, in Abuja, he said that MSF was encouraged by the release of the funds.
The statement read “MSF is encouraged to hear that the funds have finally been released after such a long delay and we congratulate all those who worked hard to make this happen. However, medical treatment could only begin after remediation is complete” and added that the release of the funds only took them a step closer to treating the patients as there was still much work to be done.
He assured that once the first compound was remediated, MSF would move to site and start screening children to determine the blood lead levels (BLL) and added that as soon as clean ups of four neighbourhoods were completed, MSF would begin to admit children to the programme for treatment.
Gayton urged all stakeholders to make similar commitment to a holistic and comprehensive solution to the lead poisoning crisis that included not only the very important steps of remediation and medical treatment but implementation of a safer mining programme to put a final stop to ongoing contamination.
MSF had, in March 2010, responded to reports of mysterious deaths of children across the state, two which an estimated 400 children and thousands more were discovered to have excessive and unprecedented levels of lead in their blood, it is the worst case of lead poisoning witnessed in history.