Doctors start treating a thousand lead-poisoned children in Nigeria

2013-08-03 14:38

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Lagos – Doctors Without Borders say they can start treating child victims in Nigeria of one of the world’s worst recorded lead-poisoning cases after a cleanup was held up for two years by lack of funding.

Dr. Michelle Chouinard said yesterday that more than 1 000 children need treatment that will take one or two years.

She said it is too late to reverse serious neurological damage that has blinded some children and paralysed others.

Her organisation uncovered the scandal in 2010 when some 400 children convulsed and died in Nigeria’s northwest Zamfara state.

The poisoning was caused by crude mining techniques during a gold rush.

Villagers still maintain they would rather die of lead poisoning than poverty.

Environmental scientist Simba Tirima fears that, without safe mining methods, the contamination could return.

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