Dr. Mona: Flint still not recovered 6 years after water crisis started

Published: Apr. 24, 2020 at 5:59 PM EDT
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(4/24/2020) - The 6th anniversary of Flint’s drinking water source switch comes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pediatrician Dr. Mona-Hanna-Attisha helped uncover the public health crisis.

She said had the country learned from Flint, we'd be in a better situation right now.

“It's because of incompetent leadership at the federal level. It's because we haven't invested in public health. And, because we haven't listened to scientists. So, I hope that this provides another opportunity for us to learn these lessons and to make sure these kinds of things don't continue to happen,” Dr. Hanna-Attisha explained.

The pediatrician's work bringing light to elevated lead levels in Flint kids shortly after the switch proved the city was in a crisis.

“We have come an absolutely long way since then, you know, hand-in-hand with our partners throughout the Flint community,” Dr. Hanna-Attisha said.

But, she added the City is not at the point of recovery yet.

Especially, Dr. Hanna-Attisha explained because the civil lawsuits are not completed and criminal charges have yet to be brought back.

“There's a lot that we don't know yet; and, without that closure for so many folks, this crisis is raw, it is real and it's a trauma every single day,” she said. “And for so many people in Flint, that justice delayed very much feels like justice denied.”

As the legal process plays out, she's been championing resources for the community. Dr. Hanna-Attisha is working with a team to make sure every eligible person signs up for the Flint Registry.

“We're connecting folks to things like healthcare and early childhood resources and senior services and nutrition. It has served thousands of Flint residents impacted this crisis,” she explained.

It's a tool intended to keep track of what a community poisoned by lead needs for decades to come.

“You know, these kids are also very much struggling with cognition and behavior issues and they need the additional supports. So, you know, this work, this information is only going to be valuable,” she added.

So far, Dr. Hanna-Attisha said less than 20-percent of people who lived, worked and went to school in Flint from April 2014 to October 2015 have signed up. If you'd like to, click on the ‘Related Links’ section of this story. You actually get paid $50 for volunteering to get help.