For malaria control/elimination, Ebonyi State Government with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from 9th November 2019, will commence distribution of 1,729,200 piperonal butoxides (PBO) long-lasting mosquito nets to its residents across the thirteen Local Government Area of the state.
The net distribution is with support from USAID through the US President’s Malaria Initiative purchased the net for the state government.
The free distribution will take place in 765 designated points in the state.
Addressing journalists in Abakaliki during a media chat, state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umezurike noted that, Malaria is a disease of public health importance and it affects 5-7m people annually and kills over 300 to 500 people per annum.
He said the majority of the deaths occur in pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children under five years and these are the most important people in the country population, hence the need for eliminate malaria.
He urged the people to ensure they use the net and avoid misusing it by using the net to protect their farm from pest instead of using it to protect humans from mosquito bites.
Dr. Umezurike said the distribution campaign is led by the State Ministry of Health through the state Malaria Elimination Program with technical assistance from the implementation partners, Global Health Supply Chain, and Breakthrough ACTION Nigeria (BA-N).
“Malaria has remained a disease of public health importance, affecting five to seven million people annually and kills between 300 and 500 people with the majority of deaths occurring in pregnant women and under-five children.”
“70 percent of deaths from malaria are mainly from the tropics, especially the West African sub-region, and Nigeria in particular.” He said.
Dr. Michael Urom, State Director of public health and permanent Secretary in the ministry Dr. Chris Achi, in their remarks, pointed out that net is key strategy to stop malaria. And in Ebonyi State, the use of the net is helping to achieve the ‘Save One Million lives’ program and also help to control yellow fever outbreak and lymphatic elephantiasis.
“So in Ebonyi State, apart from protecting the pregnant women, nets help to stop the outbreak of yellow fever and other diseases.”
Mr. Godwin Aiedenagbon, Leader of the National Campaign Team, explained that the net distribution campaign is targeting the entire population, not just children and pregnant women, pointing that 97% of Nigerians are at risk of malaria.
Mr. Godwin said the net can be washed for 20 times with toilet soap only, not with detergent.
State malaria elimination program manager, Mr. Lawrence Nwankwo outlined the activities mapped out for the success of the campaign/ distribution as; household registration, 19th to 27th October 2019, distribution 9th to 13th, November 2019, while mop-up exercise may last for two days.
He said each household is entitled to have a minimum of 4 nets and advised households to cooperate with the campaign team and collect their net card before the distribution commences. “1 Net Card= 1Net; No Net Card= No Net”. Lawrence said.
It’s only women that are entitled to come to the collection center with their net card for collection.