Samuel Bello, Abuja
The Federal Government said over 6,000 children infected with lead poisoning have been treated, while 3,500 are undergoing therapeutic examination.
The government also reported that $4 is spent on each child per day, an equivalent of N43,000 a month.
Deputy Head of Mission, Nigeria, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF), and Co-Chair of the Local Organising Committee, LOC, of the 2nd International Conference on Lead Poisoning, Dr. Simba Tirima, stated this on Monday during an interview with newsmen in Abuja.
Tirima explained that the conference would be attended by experts from different fields to map out a collaborative approach and sustainable way to deal with the problem of lead poisoning.
He, however, said the treatment is meant to stabilize their condition, which may not lead to permanent cure.
“When you treat children for lead poisoning you don’t cure them, but it is medicine that helps the body expel lead faster. When those children are poisoned, those damages are irreversible. You can do what you are doing by treating them, it is preventing further damage or death,” he said.
“When it comes to treating these children, we have enrolled over 6,000 and maybe about 3,500 of them have received collation on therapy and medicine they are given, each pill about $4. A child can take up to five pills per day for 19 days.”
Speaking about blood levels, Tirima said: “If their blood level net worth does not go down sufficiently for their bodies to deal with the rest, they are enrolled back for treatment. This is because of exposure having received treatment for four years.
“The first remediation, paid for by the Zamfara State government in 2010, cost about N150 million. The second phase of remediation, paid for by United Nations Funds, UNPF, cost close to $2 million. The third cost about N470 million, and the last one that was done in Shikira, Niger State, cost about N250 million.
“It is quite expensive as it takes care of doctors, nurses and other costs. What we are doing is essential but not sustainable. Going forward we have to look for solutions that are sustainable – that means we have to get rid of environmental pollution”, he stated.