By Francis Onyeukwu, Awka.
Rural and urban dwellers in Anambra State have expressed gratitude to Malaria Consortium, an international non-governmental organisation, for giving them more than 3.8 million Insecticide-Treated Nets (ITNs).
Malaria Consortium distributed the nets with support from “Give Well Open Philanthropic Funding’’, in collaboration with the Anambra State Government and the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP).
Mrs Laitan Adeniyi, ITNs Campaign Manager, Malaria Consortium, said on Sunday in Awka that distribution of the nets started on Aug. 7.
She added that the exercise was going on simultaneously in the 21 local government areas of Anambra.
“Before the distribution of the nets, we visited Gov. Chukwuma Soludo to advocate for the buy-in of the state government.
“We also paid advocacy visits to relevant ministries, agencies, security agencies, media houses, religious leaders and other stakeholders for a successful distribution of the nets,’’ she said.
Adeniyi said that Malaria Consortium also conducted capacity building for personnel to be engaged in the distribution and sensitised journalists and town criers on ways to ensure adequate awareness about the nets.
“Through the support of the state government’s mobilisation and distribution teams, local government areas conveyors and distribution hub supervisors were engaged for the exercise.
“Civil society organisations were also engaged, while adequate logistics arrangements and technological devices were put in place to ensure efficiency and accountability in the distribution of the nets,’’ she said.
She stressed that Malaria Consortium took painstaking efforts to ensure that end-users got the nets free.
Mr Vincent Onwughalu, a resident of Adazi-Ani, Anaocha Local Government Area (LGA), said that his household received four of the treated nets on Sunday, Aug. 7.
“When the distributors came, I thought the nets were for sale, but after their explanations, I am happy that people who remember ordinary Nigerians still exist,’’ he said.
Onwughalu said that using bed nets was imperative in staving off malaria-causing mosquitoes.
Another beneficiary, Mr Oliver Nwachukwu, said that he was happy when told that the nets came from a non-profit group.
“This meant that there are still good-spirited individuals who are concerned about the plight of Nigerians; my prayer is for God to reward those behind this gesture,’’ he said.
Mrs Lovely Okoye and Mrs Augustina Mbamalu, both residents of Neni in Anaocha LGA, described regular usage of bed nets as anti-dote to malaria, especially among infants.
Okoye specifically urged expectant and women of childbearing age to stick to the usage of bed nets.
“Since I was educated on the importance of bed net after the birth of my first child in 2007 I have sustained the practice,’’ she said.
In her remarks, Mrs Grace Kalu, Coordinator of Malaria Consortium’s ITN Mass Campaign in Anaocha LGA, said that communities in the council area were classified into 167 settlement clusters for smooth distribution of the nets.
She said that 123 settlement clusters had received the free ITNs as at Aug. 13, adding that the door-to-door distribution was flawless because the nets were already at micro hubs.
Kalu also said that data collated at the micro-planning stage were used to allocate nets to every local government area for easy distribution of the nets to recipient homes.
She advised the beneficiaries to ensure they always slept inside the nets as that would enable them to reap bountiful benefits from the gesture.