Malaria control: Oyo govt, USAID to distribute over 5million Insecticide Treated Nets against mosquito bites

From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

In a bid to reduce illnesses, severe diseases, and deaths being occasioned by malaria as a result of mosquito bites, Oyo State Government with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said more than five million Insecticide-Treated Nets (ITNs), will be distributed across 351 wards in the 33 local government areas of the state.

The plan was made known at a media parley held at the Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan, the state capital, on Monday organised by the Ministry of Health in the state and the Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BA-N) of the USAID.

The media parley was attended by the Director, Public Health, Oyo State Ministry of Health, Dr. Wole Lawal; Deputy Director, Public Health in the state ministry, Dr. Bunmi Ayinde; and Acting Programme Manager, State Malaria Eradication Programme, Mrs. Elizabeth Adeleke.

The team from BA-N, led by Amina Kato, also comprised the Oyo State Coordinator of the group, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Afachung; Senior Technical Advisor, Malaria, Mr. Idowu Akanmu; and Demand Creation Consultant, Mr. Femi Babatunde.

The roll call also consisted of Oyo State chairperson of National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Mrs. Jadesola Ajibola, who represented the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the state, Mr. Ademola Babalola.

Speaking on the occasion, the Senior Technical Advisor, Malaria of BA-N, Akanmu, said more than five million ITNs would be distributed to replace the four million ITNs distributed in 2016 because each net has between three and four years lifespan.

The over five million ITNs, according to him, would come with funding from the United States Government through United States President’s Malaria Initiative, adding that the exercise would be implemented by the state ministry of health, the state malaria elimination programme in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Health.

Director of Public Health, state ministry of health, Dr. Wole Lawal, who emphasised the importance of ITNs in malaria prevention, warned that Malaria does note spare anyone. He added that 97 per cent of the population of Nigeria suffers from malaria, and that Nigeria is contributing 45 per cent to the world figure on malaria infections. Nigeria, he stated further, is contributing the highest burden to malaria infections in Africa.

“Malaria is the second cause of death in adult, apart from HIV. It is the third killer in children under five years, apart from pneumonia and diarrhoea. Malaria destroys blood. So, we need to save our children, pregnant women and everyone from malaria,” he said.

Deputy Director, Public Health in the state ministry of health, Dr. Bunmi Ayinde, said household mobilisation for the campaign would hold from July 30 to August 7, 2021, while official flag off for the programme would hold on August 16, and followed by distribution of the nets from August 18 to 26.

She explained that each household would take net card during the mobilisation period, and the card would be used to collect ITNs during distribution period, adding that every house hold is entitled to a maximum of four free ITNs, depending on population size. She stated further that 2,000 distribution points would be opened across the 351 wards in the state, saying: “One net card, one net, no net card, no net.”

Demand Creation Consultant, BA-N, Mr. Femi Babatunde, however, warned against improper use of the ITNs, saying after collection, the net should be spread under the shade for 24 hours before use, and that if the net is dirty, it should be washed with mild soap about four to five times in a year and not more than 20 washes in three to four years.

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