Today, 1 in 3 children have enough lead in their blood to cause permanent brain damage. An estimated 292 million of these lead-poisoned children live in Colombia, India (Maharashtra), Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, and Peru. Despite the enormous long-term health and economic harms, these countries lack systems and the technical capacity to effectively identify, treat, and prevent childhood lead exposures. This 5-year project will help these 5 countries to overcome key technical and clinical hurdles, and to implement effective national action to monitor and reduce lead poisoning risks.
Challenges/Needs Being Addressed
The project’s 5 priority countries are currently unable to address lead poisoning because they lack systems to evaluate who, where, and from which sources lead exposure occurs. This project will strengthen national/state health systems and local expertise to collect, store, analyze, and use childhood lead exposure data, not only to identify lead sources but to also raise awareness and enable governments to plan, advocate for, and enact sound, cost-effective policies to address root causes.
The absence of clinical guidance and clinician competency around assessing lead exposure risks in children prolongs hazardous levels of exposure in millions of children and limits the potential of the health sector to influence the reduction in lead hazards. In the absence of sound guidance provided by clinical influencers, families lack essential information to reduce children’s exposures. The project provides needed clinical guidance and training for health professionals on rapid data collection, integration, analysis, and dissemination of information about lead exposure.