By Francis Ogwo
The fight against malaria in Kwara State is set to get a boost as the state Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, sets machineries in place to distribute 2.3 million free insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) to residents of the state.
The Governor made the move public on Friday at the official launch of house-to-house distribution exercise during which he stated that the state got some relief from Global Funds as a result of its payment of relevant counterpart funds.
Abdulrazaq noted that more than 50 per cent of health complications reported across public hospitals results from poorly treated malaria while adding that over 5,000 citizens had been trained and engaged in the house-to-house distribution model across the 16 LGAs, added that the engagement of the beneficiaries would be of immense economic benefits.
“A little over one year ago, we invested millions of naira in paying counterpart funds to key into various basic healthcare programmes. N82m of that amount was meant for the anti-malaria initiative of the Global Fund. What we have in return are 2.3million insecticide-treated nets worth over N3.3 billion, among other socio-economic benefits,” he said.
“Today, we are flagging off the house-to-house distribution of these nets across our state. To do this, we have engaged at least 5,000 persons who will get paid for doing so.
“Malaria is a major killer disease in sub-Saharan Africa. It has also proven to have adverse economic effects. This is why we are so interested in fighting it. However, it is cheaper to prevent malaria than curing it. One major way of preventing the killer disease is the use of insecticide-treated nets. It is safe for use and I urge our people to use it.”
The Governor applauded the support of the state’s partners, volunteers, and net advocates, especially the former Minister of State for Health, Hajia Amina Ndalolo, for their efforts in the campaign.
The Governor subsequently handed units of the ITNs to some families before proceeding to sleep in a demo mosquito-netted bed at the event — a symbolic gesture to demonstrate the safety of the ITN and encourage citizens to use them.
In his response, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria has continued to witness appreciable progress in malaria control and elimination efforts as the rate of malaria infection now stand at 20 per cent in Kwara State.
“Kwara State is one of the three states selected to benefit from the 2020 mass insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) distribution campaigns aimed at delivery of 2.3 million ITNs to beneficiaries with the support of the Global Fund. Furthermore, two LGAs (Asa and Moro) will simultaneously be used to carry out the New Net Project evaluation that will involve monitoring the impact of the new generation ITNs on malaria indicators,” he said, commending the political support from the Governor.
Also speaking at the event was the Speaker Kwara State House of Assembly, Engr Yakubu Danladi Salihu, who noted that the payment of counterpart funds and other investments have greatly impacted the on the health sector in the state.
Kwara State Commissioner for Health, Dr Raji Rasaq, said engagement of over 5,000 citizens in the house-to-house distribution model across the 16 LGAs will be of immense economic benefits.
“Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s sustained injection of fund into the health sector to drive the provision of healthcare needs to the populace is one without a match in the history of the state,” he added.