December 28, 2009

FG distributes 1.6m mosquito nets in Ogun

By Chioma Obinna
With the World’s 80 per cent universal coverage on the usage of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLLIN), beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s free LLIN in Ogun State last week have been urged to make proper use of the nets to ensure that efforts to halt the burden of malaria yield the expected outcomes.

Malaria has led to the death of millions of Nigerians especially, women and children under five years.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Babatunde Oshotemehin who made the charge in Ogun State while flagging -off the free distribution of LLIN in the State decried that despite huge efforts and funds spent by government, partners and stakeholders including multilateral; bilateral and non governmental agencies, the burden of malaria has continued to rise indicating the need for more concerted actions by individuals organisations, communities and professions.

Oshotimehin said “It is worrisome that despite the fact that malaria is treatable, curable and preventable, it still assumes a deadly dimension in pregnancy causing anemia and increasing the risk of the abortion, haemorrhage premature delivery and death.”

Oshotimehin  remarked that the involvement, participation and ownership of the implementation of Roll Back Malaria interventions by relevant stakeholders especially the benefitting communities is paramount to the entrenchment of sustainability of malaria control in Nigeria.

He saif the LLINs have several important advantages over the conventional nets as with the LLIN there is no need for re-treatment.

Other advantages are  insecticide consumption has minimum potential environmental impact and release of insecticide in natural water bodies during washing is greatly reduced.

He explained that the campaign would see the distribution of 63 million nets in the whole country, out of the number, he noted that over 1.639 million nets would be distributed in Ogun communities as major intervention strategy to scale up net campaigns and net use in various households.

Oshotimehin who recalled that in the past, one of the requirements during admission of students into Borden schools was that  the student must come with a net regretted that technology have brought the era of putting these nets by the windows.

Encouraging beneficiaries to make appropriate use of the nets, he further disclosed that 90 per cent success recorded in the eradication of Polio in 2009 was from Nigeria

Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel who recalled that the state has put in place various strategies to reduce the burden of malaria in the state disclosed that during th three days exercise, each households in Ogun State will receive two long lasting insecticide treated nets.

He was optimistic that the nets would reduce eth attack of malaria fever among family members by half even as he assured the beneficiaries that the nets are safe and does not cause any harm to human being.

Also, speaking, the National Coordinator, National Malaria Control Programme, Dr. Folake Ayo explained that campaign was aimed at halving the burden of malaria by the year 2010

Ayo explained that government has fostered a formidable partnership to ensure that intersectoral and multi disciplinary actions are put ibn place to checkmate the scourge of malaria and implement the National Malaria Strategic Plan 2009 to 2013.