Malaria Prevention: Benue Govt, Partners To Distribute 3.6m ITNs To Households

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From Msurshima Andrew Makurdi

In their continuous efforts to rid the state of Malaria infection, Benue State Government and malaria-elimination partners have concluded plans to commence distribution of over 3.6million Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) to households in the state. I

State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Mr. Emmanuel Ikwulono, disclosed this at a one-day Media Parley for Benue State 2020 Insecticide Treated Nets Distribution Campaign held in Makurdi.

The distribution will begin from November 14th-18th 2020 across the 23 Local Government councils in the state.

Represented by Director of Public Health, Mr. Jonathan Kur, the commissioner expressed happiness over the increase in the rate of ITN ownership and utilization in the state which he said has risen from 11% to 66%.

Ikwulono who quoted statistics released by Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2018 also said malaria prevalence has also decreased from 43% to 14% and expressed commitment of government to reduce it to the barest minimum.

The commissioner, who said, the state government is targeting 100% utilization of treated nets and 0% malaria infection in Benue by the end of 2020, said the nets will be distributed household by household to avoid them fr being hijacked by anyone.

He therefore called on the people to make good use of the nets when collected.

On his part, State Coordinator, Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria, Usman Dominic, who advised members of the public to always sleep inside treated mosquito nets said it is cheaper to do so than to treat malaria.

He disclosed that from his interaction with Communities, average Nigerian families spend at least, N30,000 annually to treat malaria alone.

He further advised the Benue people to use their nets correctly especially by airing it under a shade for 24 hours to prevent skiing irritation, itching, redness of the eyes among others.

According to him, 1478 net distribution points have been designated across the state to ensure social-distancing and prevent mass gathering because of Covid-19.

Usman, who explained that household mobilization and registration for issuance of Net Card will start on 24th October and end on November I, 2020, enjoined members of the public to make good use of the opportunity.

A total of over 17million ITN is to be distributed to communities in five out of the 36 states of the federation, including Benue, Zamfara, Osun, Kwara and Adamawa before the end of 2020.

ITN can be used for a minimum of three years, and can be  washed with a mild soap for  4-5 times in a year, Usman said.

The Regional Director, USAID-GHSC, James Abu, Program Manager, State Malaria Elimination Program, Susan Abege and Media Liaison Officer II, Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria, Abuja, Eze Eze Ogali among other malaria-elimination partners and journalists were present at the media parley.

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