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28 Children Die Of Lead Poisoning In Niger State

At least 28 children have been reported dead following an outbreak of lead poisoning in Niger state, the federal government has confirmed.

This latest occurrence has brought the death toll from lead poisoning in the country to 191, including 139 children.

A total of 420 cases were recorded in Zamfara and Niger states, respectively.

Speaking to journalist in Abuja, the Minister of State for Health, Mr Fidelis Nwankwo, said that 68 fresh cases of the lead poisoning were recorded in Kawo and Magiro villages of Rafi local government area of the state.

“Sixty eight cases have been recorded as at May 12, 2015, and 28 deaths had occurred giving the case of fertility rate of 43 per cent,” said Nwankwo.

He said all the deceased were children below the age of five and comprised 17 females and 11 males.

He also said the affected children were found to have a high serum lead level between 17 and 22 times higher than the acceptable limits established by the World Health Organisation.

Nwankwo however, said that the federal government adopted an eight-point strategy to tackle the situation upon receipt of the report from the Niger Government.

“We have commenced non-specific, palliative treatment of the sick children in Kagara hospital.

“We also commenced the process of incident command structure to enhance coordination of the outbreak response.

“Mobilisation of health facilities in Niger and Zamfara states to commence chelation of clinically ill children in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

The last lead poisoning case was recorded in Zamfara between March and June 2010, which claimed 163 lives, including 111 children.

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