Statement from Dan Kass, Senior Vice President of Environmental, Climate and Urban Health, Vital Strategies, on the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Vital Strategies, The National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Disease Control (CDC Peru) of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and Pure Earth
October 20, 2023—A new Memorandum of Understanding between Vital Strategies, The National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Disease Control (CDC Peru) of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and Pure Earth aims to protect over 7 million children from toxic lead.
“Around the world, one in three children have levels of lead in their blood that are unsafe and can lead to a lifetime of cognitive and physical developmental impairments. Despite the scale of this crisis, lead poisoning is too often overlooked as a public health crisis. In Peru, millions of children are exposed to lead from contaminated soil, water, paint, and industrial activities.
Fortunately, there are several ways to protect kids and adults from lead exposure. Since 2018, Vital Strategies has collaborated with Peru’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) to strengthen the public health response to lead in Peru by identifying its sources, improving clinicians’ ability to recognize lead poisoning symptoms and communicating to adults how they can protect their children from common lead sources.
Knowing where lead sources are, and who is most susceptible, is one of the first steps in reducing lead exposure and a process that governments around the world can apply. In 2022, CDC Peru and Vital Strategies completed the first representative evaluation of children’s exposure to better understand how and where Peruvian children are exposed to lead. Nurses and community health workers across eight regions of Peru evaluated lead exposure and provided counseling to more than 1,000 children under the age of five.
With this MOU, CDC Peru, Vital Strategies and a new partner, Pure Earth, will extend this collaboration for five years to further advance knowledge and drive action to address lead exposure and protect children’s wellbeing. We applaud the work of CDC Peru and Pure Earth on this critical public health issue and extend our gratitude to Peru for its national commitment to protect Peruvians from lead.”
The Memorandum of Understanding pledges work on the following objectives:
- Strengthen public health epidemiological surveillance and health intelligence information systems in relation to lead exposure.
- Strengthen public health epidemiological surveillance of risk factors for lead exposure
- Strengthen the capacity of health professionals for epidemiological surveillance in public health for the prevention of lead exposure.
- Strengthen the evidence base to drive the adoption of upstream policy solutions to prevent further introduction of lead in the environment, and reduce the potential for exposure and its health harms.
- Support coordination among MINSA’s technical offices to support public health surveillance, clinical practice and source identification.
View Pure Earth’s press release here.
Learn more about Vital Strategies’ work on lead poisoning prevention here.
About Vital Strategies
Vital Strategies believes every person should be protected by an equitable and effective public health system. We work with governments, communities, and organizations around the world to reimagine public health so that health is supported in all the places we live, work and play. The result is millions of people living longer, healthier lives.
To learn more visit www.vitalstrategies.org or follow us @VitalStrat.
About Pure Earth
Pure Earth’s vision is a world where all, especially children, are able to live healthy lives and reach their full potential, free from exposure to toxic pollution. Pure Earth partners with governments, communities and industry leaders to identify and implement solutions that stop toxic exposures, protect health, and restore environments.
To learn more visit www.pureearth.org or follow us @PureEarthNow.
Shashwat Raj, Senior Communications Manager – Environmental Health, Vital Strategies
Ally Davis, Deputy Director, PR and Marketing, Vital Strategies