The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, yesterday flagged off the distribution of 2. 6 million long lasting insecticidal nets with a call on households to ensure they sleep under the nets to eradicate malaria from the state.
The event tagged ‘Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) Replacement Campaign’, organised by the Edo State Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Catholic Relief Service (C.R.S), attracted international and local stakeholders in the health sector, who lauded the Obaseki-led administration for putting health care on the front burner.
Assuring Edo people of “well articulated policies on public health issues”, the governor stressed that “a healthy society is a wealthy society” and advised that a proactive approach like sleeping under the nets was cheaper than treating the disease.
He further said that his administration has set a 100 per cent distribution target for the insecticidal nets, from the current 86 per cent.
In his words of commendation, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said Edo State has been in the fore front and continues to make giant strides in keeping up with malaria elimination intervention.
He added that the presence of Governor Obaseki at the event showed his resilience in the fight to eliminate malaria and improve the health of the people in the state.
The minister who was represented by Dr. Evelyn Ngige, Director of Public Health in the ministry, added that the state occupies a strategic position in the country and maintained that “If we succeed in the replacement of the LLINs in Edo State, it will translate to rapid scale up of our overall national coverage target.”
The minister assured that the federal government would continue to collaborate with Edo State to win the war against the disease and promote the use of modern technology to fast- track distribution of LLINs.
Also at the event, First Lady of Edo State, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, who was installed as the Ambassador of the Roll Back Malaria campaign in the state noted that the LLINs was an effective way to control the spread of malaria by mosquitoes.
Drawing from her personal experience, she said she was taught by her parents early in life to always sleep under nets and that the practice kept her and her siblings free from malaria for the most parts of their childhood.
“From the time I started opening my eyes as a child, I have always slept under mosquito nets and I remember that my father at that time will go round all our beds where we slept as children to ensure that our nets were well tucked under the matresses. This did not only keep us free from malaria, it also created a strong bond between us and our father,” Mrs. Obaseki said.
The Edo State Coordinator, World Health Organisation (WHO), Ms Faith Ireye, noted that efforts by Obaseki’s administration in the health sector have ensured that young children and pregnant women have access to life saving prevention tool such as the LLINs.
She lamented that malaria remained a daily threat and noted that with commitments from governments such as the Edo State Government, private sector and communities working together with development partners, the disease would be eradicated from the country.
In his remark, Acting Country Representative of CRS in Nigeria, Dr. Emeka Anoje, said Edo government has demonstrated that it is a dependable and reliable partner in the campaign against malaria through the provision of operational funds to support planning and logistics of the distribution of the LLINs.
The Commissioner for Health, Edo State, Dr. David Osifo, said prevention was key to the reduction of the burden of malaria which accounts for approximately 11 per cent maternal mortality and 30 per cent mortality in children of less than five years.