HOW FUNDS IS BEING SPENT TO PROVIDE TREATMENT FOR LEAD POISONED CHILDREN IN SHIKIRA, NIGER STATE
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 organisations 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where public records are mostly inaccessible and where government departments often do not have an information desk and do not publish about their activities.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.
THE MINISTER VISITED SHIKIRA TO ASSESS THE COMPLETION OF PHASE ONE OF THE REMEDIATION
On 22nd of January 2017 our team was informed of the expected visitation of the Minister of Environment to the community to access the work done so far. To us, it is was a surprised at first because it was on Sunday, but also we think this is how the government should work which the Amina Mohammed Administrator showed to us that the government could follow the money themselves too rather than doling millions out on a project without clear monitoring and evaluation criteria to assess the situation of the project.
VOICE OF NIGERIA INTERVIEW OF FOLLOW THE MONEY COMMUNITY REPORTER
23rd of November, Mamman Alhaji Umar, the Niger state community champion was interviewed by the Voice of Nigeria (VON) on the #SaveShikira campaign which he gave an overview of the remediation and what is thought are.
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FOLLOW THE MONEY TEAM AND NAIJ DOCUMENTED THE REMEDIATION PROCESSES
In august 2016, our team with Naij went to Shikira for a detailed documentation of the remediation and voices of the people of Shakira is finally heard and the success of the campaign became a point of reckoning in terms of making Government to work for the people it should work for.
REMEDIATION STARTED IN JULY
In July following our press release in June, remediation eventually started with the Doctors Without Borders treating the children and the team of the state Ministry of environment are also on ground to work together on the remediation.
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT VISIT Shikira
SENATE URGES FG TO APPROVE FUNDS FOR #SaveShikira
PRESS RELEASE ON #SAVESHIKIRA
[Abuja, May 9, 2016] Over one year after lead disaster that killed little children, nothing has been done to save other living as Connected Development [CODE] warns that time is running out to solve the Niger crisis in Nigeria. “Shikira which harbours two villages (Ungwar Magiro and Ungwar Kawo) is reaching crisis point” said Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive, CODE. “More than one year after the lead poisoning disaster was first discovered in Niger state, over 300 hundred children below 5 years are still awaiting critical medical treatment.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT URGED TO DECLARE SHIKIRA NATIONAL EMERGENCY
The Follow The Money team has sent a request to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Senate President and the Speaker, House of Representative to declare a national emergency on the lead poisoning case in Niger State that has been killing vulnerable children in Shikira, Kagara and adjoining communities. [VIEW LETTERS BELOW]
NIGER STATE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ACTION ON #SaveShikira
August 29 2015: 20 key stakeholders on the lead poisoning case in #Shikira and Niger State as a whole came together to share information and knowledge on the response plan for Shikira. The representative of the Niger state government promise to engage the presidency on the provision of the funds to #SaveShikira as it was reiterated that no funds were made or have been made available to the Ministries involved. [VIEW] Minutes of Meeting
MEDIA ENGAGEMENT ON #SaveShikira
Listen to our advocacy via radio program on #SaveShikira at KISS FM in Abuja
TWEETATHON ON #SaveShikira
January 13, 20, and 27: The team had a social media campaign on Twitter to amplify the voice of the people of Shikira. Tweets on #SaveShikira reached 73,014 accounts from 32 organizations and individuals with an impression of 613,096.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH TO SHIKIRA
December 2015: The team embarked on an on -site visitation to Shikira, and to meet with health workers that are working in Kigara, a nearby town. The team met with Dr Yahaya Nauzo, the Director of Public with the State Ministry of Health. Dr Yahaya said he just resumed newly to the position but he looks forward to working with the FTM team on the remediation of lead contamination in Rafi LGA