United States Agency for International Development (USAID) yesterday announced that Nigeria spends N480 billion annually for prevention and treatment of malaria scourge. The USAID and MAPS consultant, Mr.Garba Umar,who stated this during a Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINS) Campaign in Abakaliki, said:“57 million LLINs have been distributed in all the 36 states and FCT Abuja between 2009 to 20I3; and over 1.7 million LLINs are planned to be distributed in 2015 replacement campaign.”
Umar attributed 68% of all clinical attendance in Nigeria to malaria burden, adding that at least 50% of the population, representing nearly 100 million clinically diagnosed cases per year, suffer from at least one episode of malaria each year. The USAID consultant said the successful implementation of LLIN Mass Campaign in the state is to be done through strong partnerships with USAID and MAPS(Malaria Action Programme For States);Federal Ministry of Health; the State Ministry of Health; the local governments; other malaria partners and the media.
He explained:“ mobilizers would visit households, register them and issue net cards; households are to keep the net cards safe until the time for redemption, adding that the nets are free and that women only, are allowed to stay at the Distribution Points to redeem the nets” He said women have been given the opportunity to be at the distribution point because they are more organised and better managers of crowd in terms of behaviour.
According to him,” distribution of long lasting insecticidal nets has started; sleeping inside the nets makes you safe from malaria; sleep inside the net every night is to protect you and your family.” On the allegation that the nets to be distributed may be hijacked by politicians, he said“ it is not possible because the Tribution Points are known, the micro records are known, the person releasing it is known and that government is interested to see that the nets are distributed to the end users”.
-Wilfred Chimeremeze, Abakaliki