World Malaria Week: Ebonyi To Distribute Over 2m Mosquito Nets To Residents

World Malaria Week: Ebonyi To Distribute Over 2m Mosquito Nets To Residents

By Oswald Agwu, Abakaliki.

Ebonyi State Government has confirmed availability of 2.08 million number Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets for distribution to households in the State to combat the spread of malaria

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr.

Daniel Umezurike made the confirmation on Tuesday during a Press conference to mark World Malaria day, 2022.

Umezurike described Malaria as a global health challenge responsible for over one million deaths per annum, especially in the tropics.

He noted that the endemic nature of the disease in Nigeria in general, and Ebonyi State in particular, has made it a serious public health problem, adding that over 60% of hospital attendance is caused by malaria, being also, a major cause of morbidity in pregnant women and children less than 5 years.

While appreciating the Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI), for procuring and supplying the nets to the State, the Commissioner enjoined all Ebonyi households to ensure that they get enumerated and registered to be eligible to receive the nets, adding that one of the best ways to tackle malaria was to prevent mosquito bites by sleeping inside insecticidal nets.

Umezurike said: “I want to use this opportunity once again to thank PMI, that is, Presidential Malaria Initiative, a USAID funded project that is supporting us on malaria and other issues.

“They have procured and donated 2.08 million number Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets of high quality.

“We will soon start, first of all, the area mapping, after which we would proceed to issuance of net cards.

“The net cards qualify you to get the nets during actual distribution.”

Umezurike further highlighted other contributions of State government to malaria control to include provision of comparatively adequate budget line for health, provision of free malaria drugs in the primary and secondary health facilities in the State, regular and committed provision of counterpart funds for malaria and other health issues and creation of additional funding opportunities for malaria control activities in the State, among others.

Dr. Akuma

He appreciated the WHO, USAID-funded partners in the State: Breakthrough Action, Nigeria ( BAN); Integrated Health program (USAID-IHP), PMI, Rotary, and others for their commitments which have brought a downward slope in malaria escalation in the State.

Speaking on the theme for the year: “Advance Equity, build Resilience, End Malaria” with the slogan: “Every Effort Counts”, the Director of Public health in the Ministry, Dr. Hyacinth Ebenyi and the State Coordinator of PMI for States, Dr. Grace Nwankwo, emphasized that in the fight against malaria, all hands must be on deck as everyone was an important stakeholder.

The state Net Ambassador, Chukwuma Elom, who represented the wife of the Governor, Rachael Umahi, lamented that the impact of malaria was often felt most in rural communities, especially among women and children. He advised Ebonyi residents to always keep their environment clean to forestall breeding of mosquitoes.

Elom added: “The wife of the Governor appeals to all persons in the State to sleep inside insecticide treated nets, especially pregnant women and children.”

Meanwhile, in a goodwill message, the Acting State Coordinator, USAID-Breakthrough Action, Mrs Ifeoma Chris Okafor, appreciated the State Government for the enabling environment granted to partners to thrive.

She emphasized that USAID-BAN, in commemoration of the event, has intensified its community engagements and communication strategies towards social behavior change which, according to her, is one of the major approaches to ending the malaria scourge.

Okafor advised residents to always go for testing for confirmation before treatment of malaria,

Goodwill messages were received from BAN, IHP, PMI, AMURT and the Ebonyi State primary healthcare development agency, EBSPHCDA, among other partners.

World malaria day is specifically observed on April 25, every year.
The weeklong activities marking the event in the State was organized by the State Ministry of Health in conjunction with the office of the wife of the Governor, under support from WHO, USAID-Breakthrough Action, IHP, PMI, AMURT and Rotary, among other partners.

Activities started on April 24, with an interdenominational Church service in Abakaliki, to terminate on April 30, featuring road walk/rally, malaria town hall meetings, community engagements and sensitization as well as media briefing.