Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has pledged to support and assist Yakubu Gowon Centre and its partners to control malaria and other neglected tropical diseases in the state.
The former military head of state and initiator of the Centre, Gen Yakubu Gowon (rtd), visited the Government House, Enugu yesterday in furtherance of the pet programme of his centre in the coal city state.
The governor commended Dr. Gowon and partners to his centre for the vision to embark on a mobilization campaign to control malaria and other neglected tropical diseases in the country.
Governor Ugwuanyi in a speech through his deputy, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, when Dr. Gowon and management of his centre and partners paid a courtesy call at the Government House, Enugu, yesterday expressed happiness over the remarkable successes recorded by the centre and its partners in the fight against health scourges in the country.
In his words, “notable among these achievements was the eradication of such deadly diseases as guinea worm and polio – a feat which has made the country of safer place to live as far as health is concerned.
He noted that it is heart warming to note that many concerned organizations like Yakubu Gowon Centre have formed clusters and partners to help countries prevent, reduce and mitigate the health impact of these diseases which are the major factor affecting development.
Earlier in an address, General Gowon informed the governor that he was in the Government House with his team on advocacy to deal with Malaria and other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs.)
He added that the World Health Organization (WHO) has scheduled that river blindness should be eliminated by the year 2020 but regretted that Enugu State and Nigeria in general are far from meeting this target.
According to him, apart from Nasarawa and Plateau States other states in the country are still in red condition instead of green condition in the elimination of river blindness in Nigeria.
He commended Enugu State in its contribution to the elimination of guinea warm in the country, adding that Nigeria was satisfied free of guinea warm in 2013.
He requested to partner the state government to deal with the problem of malaria General Gowon solicited assistance of the state governor on the provision of vehicles and motor cycles for the health workers of his centre to supervise drug distributions and usage.
He also appealed to the state government to direct local government administration to assist the centre financially for its work at the local government level.
In a brief remark, a doctor in the centre, Dr. Emma Miri noted that 2.1 million nets would be provided in the state to deal with the issue of malaria, adding that if mosquito nets are used properly that the issue of malaria and elephantiasis would be dealt with.
He recalled that about 1.5 million nets were distributed in the state by the year 2011, adding that there is a need for replacement of the nets.
He also disclosed that drugs to fight the disease are donated free to tackle the issue but regretted that volunteer distributors of the drugs are no longer keen to distribute the drugs in the state, emphasizing that the centre needs vehicles to supervise the distribution effort.