Follow The Money to provide hundreds of children access to health in Shikira #SaveShikira

The Story of #SaveShikira

In March 2015 public health officials learned that many children had become sick in Rafi LGA. The children presented with fever, pallor, abdominal pain, vomiting, convulsion and altered level of consciousness. The cause was unknown, some attributed it to spiritual cause thus patronized traditional medicine practitioners.

The Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (NFELTP) of Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) set up a team of 7 to conduct on the spot assessment and verify the outbreak and the team came back with confirmation of the outbreak of lead poisoning in Rafi LGA of Niger State. The team recorded 65 cases and 28 deaths with CFR of 43% which was highly unacceptable.

In view of this, the HMH called  stakeholders’ meeting which was presided by National Coordinator/CEO NCDC and in attendance were WHO (World Health Organization), MSF (Medicine San Frontieres), NCDC team, NFELTP team, MMSD, Civil Society, NS, Connected Development (CODE), Global Rights, CDC, US Embassy.

The meeting agreed that a response plan on the outbreak be developed with immediate effect.

A committee drawn from all the above organizations including MOE, MOA, MOI, UNICEF was charged to develop a response plan. A 500 million Naira proposal have been sent to the government to approve for the urgent remediation of contaminated communities in Rafi LGA.

Mismanagement of public funds is a common practice in Nigeria, where public records are mostly inaccessible and where government departments often do not have an information desk and do not publish about their activities. Many times, funds and incentives meant for rural communities have failed to get through to communities.

As much as the Follow The Money team are hopeful that the government will approve the funds for the clean-up of these communities, bureaucracies before its approval might delay the release, and children will keep on dying in the communities. Even after the funds have been approved, it is uncertain if the funds will be used judiciously to clean-up the communities, and entrench a sustainable environmental and health practice in both communities.

By Dotun Roy is a development driven news website with the overall goal of amplifying, promoting and advocating for positive societal change through Sustainable Development advocacy in line with UN SDGs components such as education, environmental sustainability and Climate Change, Human Rights, health, finance, housing, good governance as well as security in Nigeria and across the world.

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