Life expectancy in Nigeria is now 47 years, making it the lowest among West African countries, the Project Director, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Prof. Abdulsalam Nasidi, has said. He said this in Gusau, Zamfara sate capital city at the commencement of the second Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the state’s chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association. Nasidi, who presented a paper titled: “Lead Poisoning- Zamfara Experience” said this position was 30 per cent below the world’s average life expectancy. He said it was a situation that was attributable to some health factors, including child and maternal mortality, spread of polio virus and other epidemics. “One out of every five children die before the age of five years due to polio and other infections. “Nigeria is one of four countries where polio is still an on-going epidemic,” the News Agency of Nigeria quoted the Project Director as saying at the forum. Nasidi said in Zamfara alone, acute lead poisoning had killed more than 400 children and caused brain damage in several others in Anka and Bukkuyum Local Government Areas. He described lead poisoning in the area as the “worst-ever recorded outbreak of its kind in modern times.’’ The Project Director said mass lead poisoning and massive cholera epidemics were tragedies of the 19th century. “This outbreak and our inability to interrupt polio virus transmission are serious indicators of the state of public health service in Nigeria,” he said. Nasidi said a survey carried out in the affected areas of Zamfara in November 2010 had revealed that more than 85 per cent of the soil had lead contamination. He noted that its spread was aggravated through heavy rainfalls. According to him, blood samples of infected persons exceeded the United States Environmental Protection Agency rate by three folds while some blood samples were as high as 100,000 parts per million.
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi chukwu