The lead poisoning disaster that claimed hundreds of lives and caused severe disabilities among children in Zamfara state in the last few years is still with us; experts say. This deadly poisoning is also known as plumbism According to Dr. Nasiru Umar Tsafe of the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program, Abuja, this lead deadly problem still persists in Zamfara State.
He spoke at a symposium organized by the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto where prominent government authorities, epidemiologists, community health and other medical experts dwelt extensively on lead poisoning.
Almost 60 per cent of those affected by this still require treatment, said Dr.Tsafe. In a presentation on ‘Epidemiological Response to Lead Poisoning in Zamfara State, 2010-2013’, he noted with concern that 3,198 affected by lead poisoning in Zamfara State still need treatment while 30 of the 38 villages that require emergency intervention are yet to be remediated.
Out of 5,395 confirmed EBLL (Elevated Blood Lead Level) cases of lead poisoning, he said 734 (22 per cent) children under-five had died as at March, 2013 while the number of treated children under-five stood at 2,070 (62.8 per cent) and those still requiring treatments at 3,198 [(59.3 per cent). “It is a major cause of morbidity (and mortality) particularly among U-5 children in the state,” he pointed out. The concern was reechoed by Dr. K. J. Awosan, Lecturer/Consultant Clinical Epidemiologist, Department of Community Medicine, Usmanu Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto who gave an overview of lead poisoning and its public health significance.
He said since the lead poisoning incidence was reported in Zamfara State, at least 10,000 people of which 2,000 are children below the age of five years were estimated to be in acute danger of death or severe illness in seven village. Lead damages the brain, nerves, kidneys and can cause anaemia.