Lead poisoning

I’ve seen some incredibly anaemic children in clinic today. One child was in urgent need of a blood transfusion. The local referral hospital has run out of blood. When that happens they need to ring around anyone they know might have the same blood group to see if they can donate.

There are lots of children here who have anaemia from many different sources:

  • Dietary – lots of children exist on little more than white rice
  • Haemoglobinopathies
  • Poisoning

For sure, there are more causes as well but the number of children here with lead poisoning far exceeds the number I’ve ever seen in the UK. Not difficulty really given the number is, as far as I recall, zero.


After clinic today we came down to a coastal village – a village where there are no toilets and limited electricity – where there are a large number of children with lead poisoning.

It’s a fishing village and the nets that are made in the village are weighted down with lead.


We’ve been learning about the challenges faced by the local community here. SicKids’ trustee Den Carter has been capturing our work this week – he’s an expert at sensitive image and video capture and over the coming months we’ll be able to talk about the amazing success stories we’ve seen this week. Success stories that I hope will encourage people back in the UK to get involved in the work of SicKids. Watch this space!
I’ll leave you with the following thought…


That photo was taken from the fishing community village. The village with no toilets. The village where there are large numbers of children with lead poisoning. The village where the mobile school goes each week to deliver education to the children, and the mobile medical team provides outreach clinics.

In the back of the photo you can see a golden beach. That beach is a private beach belonging to a Five Star hotel. People from all around the world come to visit. I wonder, when the guests are lying on their sunloungers, if they realise the stark juxtaposition of their privileged lifestyle as compared to the poverty a mere metre or two away.

I hope they venture out of their comfort bubble and make sure that some of their dollars go to the community who really need them.

Tomorrow, its first aid training in the morning and I’m giving some human rights lectures in the afternoon before preparing for the arrival of the other Board Members on Friday.

Good night! 🌜

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One thought on “Lead poisoning

  1. Pingback: A prevalence of lead poisoning in Sihanoukville | SicKids

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