By Rita Iliya, Minna.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has attributed the 35-per-cent prevalence of malaria cases in Niger State to perceptible low usage of mosquito nets among the residents of the state.
He said this when he led a delegation from the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) and other malaria control partners on advocacy visit on the 2022 Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) campaign to Gov. Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger in Minna on Wednesday.
The Niger State Government is collaborating with NMEP, Society for Family Health (SFH), Catholic Relief Service and Chemonics to distribute over 3.7 million ITNs in the state.
Ehanire, represented by Mr Okefu Okoko, Head of Integrated Vector Management Branch of NMEP, Federal Ministry of Health, disclosed that Niger had 35-per-cent malaria prevalence, which was high because only 16 per cent of people were using mosquito nets in the state.
“A lot of work needs to be done, especially on net ownership and usage, which is very low despite several efforts. That is what we are working towards to improve upon in the state,” he said.
The minister said that Global Fund was supporting Niger State with N11.9 billion for three years to be used for different aspects of malaria intervention such as provision of drugs, nets, seasonal malaria chemoprevention and rapid malaria test kits.
He appealed to the state government to pay its counterpart funds of N1.7 billion to ensure that the malaria prevalence was reduced to below 10 per cent before 2025, while reducing mortality.
Responding, Bello commended NMEP and other malaria control partners for donating over 3.7 million ITNs which, he noted, would go a long way in reducing malaria prevalence in the state.
He described the 16-per-cent usage of mosquito nets among the residents of the state as very low and pledged to provide support needed for the net campaign to ensure that the everyone got access to nets for usage.
Earlier, Dr Muhammad Makusidi, Commissioner of Health in Niger, said that about 3.7 million nets, worth N4 billion, had been allocated to the state for mass distribution.
In her remarks, Dr Jennifer Anyanti, Deputy Managing Director, SFH, said that the society was supporting the Niger State Government in distributing the 3.7 million ITNs to households and creating appreciable public awareness on the nets to ensure they got to everyone in the state.