The Delta State Government, through its Primary Healthcare Development Agency, in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria and other partners, including Society for Family Health (SHF) and Catholic Relief Services (CRF), will distribute over 3.5 million free long lasting insecticidal mosquito treated nets to Deltans across the 25 Local Government Areas as part of efforts to eradicate malaria.
Speaking at a Media Orientation workshop, ahead of the exercise in Asaba, the State Malaria Elimination Program officer, Dr Francis Onojeta said that in combating malaria, the use of treated mosquito nets had been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most effective and efficient measure to tackle the sickness, stressing that the state would commence its flagship on 7th June, 2019 while local governments flag-off would be on 8th June, 2019 and the program would end on 16th June 2019
He said that the campaign which started in 2013 and intended to be renewed after 3 years witnessed some challenges, explaining that unlike previous campaigns, the use of Cash and Asset Technology (CAT) would be deployed to ensure transparency and accountability.
He revealed that over 17, 000 ad-hoc personnel had been trained and deployed to issue net-cards to residents which he said would be used to access the mosquito nets.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Information, Chief Patrick Ukah, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Sir Paul Osahor, urged media practitioners to utilize their channels in sensitizing the public on the eradication of malaria, adding that it required concerted effort to combat the dreaded disease.
In a lecture on the objectives and expectations of the campaign, Dr Onojeta said that malaria was caused by a parasite known as plasmodium and transmitted by the female anopheles mosquito, stressing that the exercise was to prevent a contact between man and the vector.
Dr Onojeta added that the nets have been chemically treated and can last for three years if handled under the appropriate conditions, adding that the nets should not only be acquired but used as prescribed to avoid mosquito bites, even as he warned that pregnant women and children are more vulnerable to malaria and should take measures to protect themselves by sleeping under treated nets.
He lamented that 70 percent of global deaths caused by malaria occur in Africa of which Nigeria and three other countries account for a large chunk.
Also, Aminu Murtala and John Ocholi of the Society for Family Health, said the determination is to help in the overall reduction of malaria spread through effective media advocacy and information dissemination throughout the household distribution exercise of free long lasting insecticidal mosquito treated nets.
In the same vein, a demand creation officer, Mrs. Hope Obokoh said “The use of long lasting insecticidal nets is an effective tool for malaria control” adding that “when properly implemented; it will contribute remarkably to the overall reduction of malaria prevalence in the country.”
According to her, each household is entitled to a maximum of four mosquito nets while the deficit for larger homes were expected to be bought, adding that the nets should be spread for 24 hours under shade before use and should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
While soliciting the support of the media, she said that the campaign was intended to achieve 100 per cent ownership and corresponding utilization by individuals.