June 18, 2009

Imo warns workers against sale of donated treated mosquito nets

By Chidi Nkwopara

OWERRI—Imo State government has warned that it would deal decisively with any of its staff who sells any drug or insecticide treated mosquito nets donated to the state by non-governmental organisations, companies and international donor agencies.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vin Udokwu, who read the riot act while flagging off the Roll-Back Malaria Programme in Oguta, also warned that the disease has continued to claim the lives of pregnant mothers and children under five years.

“I must warn that government will not take it kindly on anybody  who sells drugs purchased by government or donated to it by NGOs, companies and international donor agencies. I must warn also that nobody should charge the citizens any money for the drugs and insecticide treated mosquito nets donated by Chevron Nigeria Limited”, Udokwu warned.

According to the Commissioner, “Chevron donated 3,000 doses of ACTS, 4,000 pieces of insecticide treated mosquito nets and 1,000 doses of malaria drugs for pregnant women”, stressing that government alone cannot carry the huge burden of combating malaria.

Speaking earlier, the General Manager (GM), Policy, Government and Public Affairs of Chevron, Femi Odumabo, lamented that no fewer than 60 million people suffered malaria attacks at least twice a year, while about 80 percent of malaria cases and 90-95 percent of malaria-related deaths in the world are believed to be in Africa.

“Today, malaria results in an estimated economic loss of $12 billion to Africa each year, thereby denying endemic countries of 1.3 percent of their annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP)”, Odumabo lamented.

The GM, who was represented by the Community Engagement Coordinator, Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, explained that the essence of the Roll-Back Malaria campaign focus on control of the disease was because of its high toll on the citizens.

Odumabo disclosed that “in the riverine communities of the Western Niger Delta, we operate a River Boat Clinic that takes healthcare services to the doorsteps of communities located in the creeks and along the canals of the region”.