Ebonyi to Tackle Non –Usage of Mosquito Net by Residents

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umazuruike had said the Ebonyi State Government will tackle non-usage of the newly distributed Mosquito Nets by residents.

For malaria control/elimination, Ebonyi State Government had from 9th November 2019, distributed 1,729,200 Piperonyl Butoxide (PBO) long lasting mosquito nets to residents of the state across the thirteen council areas. A Total of 98.6% have been recorded in distribution coverage.

During post distribution of the long lasting insecticide net campaign debriefing held at Ministry of Health, Abakaliki, it was observed that Izzi Local Government Area recorded the least percentage in net usage with 12.5% while Ohaozara got highest percentage above 80.

Addressing participants at the meeting, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umazuruike expressed his joy on the high record of net collection but urged the campaign team to intensify efforts to ensure that the people sleep under the net.

Represented by Dr. Michael Urom, Director Public Health in the ministry, the commissioner noted that the use of long lasting insecticide net remains a key strategy to pushing malaria to pre-elimination status which is the target of National Malaria Elimination Program.

He said over the years, Ebonyi State has perform creditably in terms of malaria program each time there is an assessment and called on the malaria manager to sustain the tempo.

He said, “The use of net is not only helping us to take care of malaria, it is also helping us to prevent Yellow fever and Lymphatic Filarasis.”

“98.6% distribution rate was recorded; the ball is now in our court to ensure usage of the net. We are going to integrate malaria program into all other activities we will be having in the state, not just breastfeeding week, malaria day, immunization flag off, we will also have malaria team that will be given a chance to talk about malaria in our programs. The use of net, the importance of sleeping under the net by pregnant women and children under age of 5, issues of FGM in each occasion, we will be talking about general health.”

“I want to use this opportunity to ask the Breakthrough Action to keep up their campaign on the use of net”. He said.

The Executive Secretary, Primary Health Agency, Dr. James Okata Nwali called for more commitment in sensitization so that the percentage will not drop.

“We do know that malaria has contributed in no small measure to our negative indices of maternal and child morbidity and mortality. So any singular activity that will ensure that there is a drastic reduction in malaria is a very positive one.”

“And incidentally all of us here have played a very key role in ensuring that there is effective net distribution in Ebonyi State.”

“From record available, we are meant to know that the coverage is 98.6% and that is a very wonderful outing but sadly again the rapid survey conducted has shown that the net usage is between 12.5 to 89% across the 13 local government areas of Ebonyi State.”

“With 12.5% usage, it is clear to us that our work is not yet over. We still have a lot of work to do individually and collectively. Wherever you come across any woman, always ask, did you collect net? If the answer is yes, then ask the person whether she is using it.”

“Because obviously I do know that time will come when they will come for main assessment, we believe that this rapid assessment that have been done, is a very transient one and we are not going to be judged based on that. But I also want to inform us that if nothing is done to this rapid assessment, the change may not be obvious.”

“The malaria manager should intensify efforts in sensitization, media houses should be engaged in the sensitization to ensure that people are sensitized to use the net because the main purpose of collecting the net is not for them to go and store it but for them to use it.

Lawrence Nwankwo, State Malaria Elimination Program Manager expressed hope that the local government which recorded the least percentage in net usage will rise up.

“I think we have an overall coverage of 98.6 % but I still know that there are some local Government whose coverage is below and some high. It is far an improvement to what we did in 2015 when we had 96%.”

“The low record is on the net use, the net use is usually low from net collection. He explained.

“The percentage, the highest is Ohaozara with 98% while Izzi is having the least but we have been informed of the task ahead because even the if local government which recorded highest doesn’t maintain the usage, it will drop.”

The State Coordinator, Breakthrough – Action Nigeria, a USAID project working in Ebonyi State, Chidinma Okoha in her remarks encouraged Ebonyi people to sleep under the mosquito net to attract donor agencies to the state.

She said “A lot still needs to be done; it doesn’t end in net collection but in usage. Net collection and usage are the index we will be judged with and that is what will be used to judge Ebonyi State as a health conscious state. So those who have collected the net should remove the old net, hang the new one and sleep under it because some part of Ebonyi State are endemic to this malaria issues but with the use of net, the vector can be prevented so awareness will still continue because it will put Ebonyi State in a very good light.”

“If net ownership and usage is high, it will bring support from people like World Bank and USAID will be more impressed and willing to come and do other programs in Ebonyi State.”

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