About 2.3 million free Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) worth N3.3 billion will be distributed to households in the 16 Local Government Areas of Kwara State in the fight against Malaria disease.
Speaking when a team led by the minister of Health and the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) paid advocacy visit to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq in his office, the minister of Health, appealed to the Governor to direct local government chairmen, traditional rulers and community leaders to support the use of ITN to make the state malaria-free.
The Minister, represented during the visit by Director Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr (Mrs) Umo Mildred Ene-Obong, said that the state would continue to receive support from Global Fund, the international organization supporting the elimination of malaria in the State, for the next three years, as a sub-recipient.
She also said that the new Insecticide Treated Nets would be distributed and evaluated in two high burden Local Government Areas of the state (Asa and Moro) with support from the Global Fund and UNITAID.
She said that the study, that will last for two years, aimed to provide the state with clear evidence on the impact of next-generation ITN in malaria burden.
Also speaking, Commissioner for Health, Dr Raji Razaq, said that the state government supported the State Malaria Elimination Program with a sum of N82million counterpart fund to attract the free ITN distribution project.
The commissioner said that about 6,000 ad-hoc staff would be engaged and deployed for the distribution of the nets, commending Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for his commitment to quality health care among people in the state.
He also said that the distribution of the insecticide-treated nets among households in the state was not meant to test people for COVID-19, adding that the ad-hoc staff would only pass useful information on preventive measures of COVID-19.
The visit also saw the governor reiterating the commitment of his administration to quality health care for the people in the state.
During the advocacy session, the Governor also decorated a former minister of Health (state), Hajia Amina Ndalolo, as Net Ambassador. The Net Ambassador, in her acceptance speech, stated that she has been free of malaria infection because of her consistent use of nets for over 20 years.
Earlier during a meeting with media practitioners on the exercise, a member of the technical committee on Malaria National Elimination Programme, Mrs Nneka Ndubuisi, said that despite malaria being the most common preventable public health problem in Nigeria, yet it takes a lethal toll of 97 per cent of Nigerians, especially children under five years of age and pregnant women.”Nigeria accounts for a quarter of the Malaria burden in Africa. Over 31 million estimated cases of malaria occur annually in Nigeria. Two of four persons having Malaria in the West African sub-region live in Nigeria. One out of five deaths from malaria globally occur in Nigeria”, she said.
Mrs Ndubuisi also said that malaria can be prevented by not allowing mosquito bites, adding that one assured way (an most cost-effective) is to sleep inside a properly hung ITN every night.
The health expert, who said that there is evidence of a reduction in malaria prevalence in Nigeria, added that the 2015 Nigeria Malaria Indicator Survey indicates 27 per cent prevalence as against 42 per cent in 2010.
She said that it was 22 per cent prevalence according to 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS).
“Evidence has shown that Nigeria accounts for nearly 110million clinically diagnosed cases per year, and an estimated 30 per cent of child and 11 per cent of maternal deaths each year are due to Malaria.
“It is the commonest cause of absenteeism from schools, offices, farms, markets, etc resulting in lower productivity.
“In addition to direct health, it also exerts a huge social and economic burden on our communities and country. Billions of Naira are lost to Malaria in form of treatment cost, prevention and loss of man-hours,” she said.
These are the reasons why it is important for residents of Kwara to receive the nets when distribution starts and sleep inside the nets every night. For a Malaria free Kwara, play your part.
Malaria: Kwara to distribute 2.3 million insecticide nets worth N3.3bn