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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Zambia to phase out dental amalgam, end childhood lead poisoning

An appeal by the Executive Director and National Lead Elimination Advisor, Children’s Environmental Health Foundation (CEHF), Michael Musenga, to the President of Zambia, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, to enact a law to ban the use and importation of dental amalgam and end childhood lead poisoning in the country has apparently yielded positive results.

Hakainde Hichilema
President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia

This is because Mr President agreed that a law should be enacted to making dental amalgam history in Zambia, as well as to end childhood lead poisoning by making Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) voluntary standards statutory to guide the manufacturing of lead-free paints as per World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations and protect children’s health.

Musenga had through the Minister of Water Development and Sanitation, Mr. Mike Mposha, appealed to the government to enact a law to completely ban the use and importation of dental amalgam and to end childhood lead poisoning by making the voluntary ZABS standards mandatory to guide paint manufacturing of lead-free paints as it was done with fuel to protect children’s health in line with WHO requirements.

According to Musenga, CEHF’s participation in the celebration of the Sustainable Open Defecation Free (SODF) for Macha Chiefdom and the 2023 World Toilet Day commemoration on November 17, 2023, at the Macha College of Nursing and Midwifery grounds in Choma District, Southern Province, Zambia, “was a great opportunity in our advocacy for a toxic free environment”.

In commemorating the World Toilet Day and participating in celebrating the Sustainable Open Defecation Free for Macha Chiefdom, following UNICEF’s success in constructing toilets and help reduce the use of open defecation on Friday, November 17, 2023, CEHF reportedly Zambia attended the event and took the opportunity to advance issues pertaining to the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and Africa Mercury Free Dentistry to meet the Republican President and other senior government officials and requested that the law be made on making dental amalgam history in Zambia, and also legally binding control be put in place to end childhood lead poisoning by making the voluntary ZABS 1185 of 90ppm standards mandatory as it was done to petrol in order to protect children’s health, and contribute to a healthier Zambia and the planet.

Responding to CEHF’s appeal, President Hichilema stated that he would meet Musenga in his office in Lusaka through the Minister of Water Development and Sanitation, Mike Mposha.

The President further greed to end childhood lead poisoning by making Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) voluntary standards statutory to guide the manufacturing of lead-free paints as per WHO recommendations and protect children’s health.

The CEHF team was extremely pleased with the Presidential support and thanked the President immensely.

The event was held under the theme: “Accelerating Change” and  was officiated by President Hakinde Hichilema, who was represented by  Mike  Mposha, the Minister of Water Development and Sanitation, who presented a speech on his behalf, the Mayor for Livingstone, Muleabayi  Nalishebo; UNICEF representative; Chief of WASH, Emily Rand; six traditional leaders from the six chiefdoms in Southern Province of Zambia; several senior government officials; Levy Mwanawasa Medical University and Area Member of Parliament Mbabala, Joseph Munsanje, attended the event.

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