By Joy Odor
The Nasarawa State Government has flagged off the distribution of over N2m insecticide treated mosquito nets, to be distributed to beneficiaries across 866 distribution points across the state.
Flagging off the distribution on Monday in Lafia, Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said the exercise, in collaboration with the US President’s malaria initiative, is aimed at protecting the lives of the people, especially under five children and pregnant women.
According to the governor, pregnant women and under five children remain the most vulnerable population when it comes to malaria transmission.
He disclosed that, the insecticide treated nets will be distributed across all the 147 electoral wards of the state.
Engineer Sule was optimistic that investment by the state government towards tackling the menace of malaria, is yielding tremendous results, with the state malaria elimination programme living above board to ensure that the malaria burden in the state has been reduced from the current 13 percent to a single digit.
“The flag off ceremony we are witnessing today, is is line with our efforts towards addressing the causes of malaria which in essence, is the cause of maternal and child death in our state,” he stated.
The governor noted that, recent report indicates that the percentage of people sleeping inside bed nets in Nasarawa State has increased from the 11 percent in 2013, to over 51 percent this year.
He expressed the determination of his administration to raise the percentage to at least 80 percent, as prelude to achieving zero malaria status before the end of 2023.
Engineer Sule used the opportunity to show appreciation to the US government for supporting the malaria campaign in the state, through its implementation partners, stressing that the similar collaborations with the Breakthrough Action Nigeria and global supply chain procurement management, as well as PMI, for the smooth implementation of the initiative, inspite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He therefore called on identified beneficiaries to visit designated distribution points to recieve the treated nets.
This is just as the governor appealed to traditional and religious leaders, to support his administration’s commitment in the fight against malaria, COVID-19 and other public health challenges.
“I appeal for sustenance of this collaboration for the benefit of all. To this end, we most note that, for a malaria free Nasarawa State, we all have to paly our role by sleeping inside our bed nets every night,” the governor said.
Representative of the USAID country director, Mrs. Anne Ikwang, with the launch of the distribution of the treated insecticide nets, it is expected that cases of malaria related deaths, will be reduced.
Mrs. Ikwang commended Engineer Sule for fulfilling every financial commitment he made towards the success of the campaign, adding that all the governor’s across all health programmes are already yielding results.
Also speaking, state commissioner of health, Pharmacist Ahmed Baba Yahaya, appreciated the contributions of the development partners towards eliminating malaria across the state.
Pharmacist Yahaya identified the use of treated insecticide nets as the first step towards preventing malaria.
Among dignitaries that witnessed the event include the state deputy governor, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, the Nasarawa State First Lady, Hajiya Silifat Abdullahi Sule, secretary to the Nasarawa State Government, Barrister Mohammed Ubandoma Aliyu, among other top government functionaries.