Lead poisoning: WHO donates N158m equipment to Nigeria

Hundreds of children under five years of age were confirmed to have been exposed to extremely  high level of lead from environmental contamination due to artisanal gold mining in Zamfara State in 2010, said WHO country representative in Nigeria, Dr Ruiz Gama Vaz.
Official ministry statement said health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu, who received the donation, said it would be deployed for “overall management of lead poisoning in Zamfara State.”
Both Zamfara and the environment ministry are working on remediating polluted sites.
But new policy being pushed by the Federal Executive Council to regulate mining provides sanction for illegal miners.
Chukwu said additional funds would be provided to the Federal Ministry of Health to procure more drugs for the treatment of the victims of lead poisoning.
But WHO has spoken of evidence that artisanal mining activity and exposures are continuing in Zamfara State.
He said that WHO in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Zamfara State Ministry of Health established a centre of Excellence for Lead Poisoning control at the King Fahd Women and Children Hospital Gusau in 2011.
The centre was renovated with N8m in financial support from WHO, which also paid for a backup solar power.
The equipment donated include two Lead Carell Analyzers/Kits and a Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer valued at $998,000 to improve Lead Poisoning diagnosis in Zamfara State.

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