The MSF Doctors without Borders have confirmed that funds to remediate Bagega, Zamfara State from lead poisoning have been released.
The MSF Country Representative in Nigeria, Ivan Gayton in a press statement said, “MSF is encouraged to hear that the funds have finally been released after such a long delay and we congratulate all those who worked hard to make this happen.
However, medical treatment can only begin once remediation has been complete, so the release of the funds puts us one step closer to treating patients, but there is still much work to do.”
Gayton explained that, “Once the first compound is remediated, MSF will move to the site with health staff, and will start screening children to determine Blood Lead Levels (BLLs) and it is at this moment that we will know the full extent of the situation we are facing. Once cleanup of the first of four neighbourhoods is completed, MSF will begin admitting children to the programme for treatment.
So we welcome the release of the funds and moment of truth will really come once teams, equipment and supplies are in place and contaminated earth is being removed from the first compound”.
“MSF encourages all relevant actors to make a similar commitment to a holistic and comprehensive solution to the lead poisoning crisis that includes not only the very important steps of remediation and medical treatment, but the implementation of a safer mining programme to put a final stop to the ongoing contamination.”
In March 2010, MSF responded to reports of children dying mysteriously in communities across Zamfara state due to excessive and unprecedented levels of lead in their blood.
The Federal Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment along with the MSF and other relevant organizations are working to address the pollution, ensure environmental remediation and deal with damages caused.
Meanwhile, Special thanks to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Bukola Saraki who has been very instrumental to the released funds as he did not only serve as a Committee leader, he took a step further to visit the Bagega Community and called President Jonathan to intervene.
He wrote through his twitter handle about the released funds . ”
@bukolasaraki we can now confirm #Bagega funds have been released to min of env / min of health / total of N631m. Thanks to @omojuwa @abangmercy 4 ur help”.
I’d also want to say that Azeenarh Mohammed and Japheth Omojuwa had sleepless nights to wage war for the release of the funds, and this is to thank you all for the work you did for the innocent children in Zamfara.
I am also not forgetting those that contributed tweets and comments, emails and follow up calls for Bagega.