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Govt expresses concern over use of insecticide treated nets


f 1Concerns are being expressed by Federal Ministry of Health over the lack of efforts by Nigerians in combating the scourge of malaria in the country, insisting that it still poses a threat to the health and well being of the populace.

The Ministry maintained that malaria still stands a threat to life and a greater threat than the effects of the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV), describing malaria as being responsible for more deaths than the HIV virus.

Through its National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), the Federal Ministry of Health made a report analysis on the status of its Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) replacement campaigns and the extent of its coverage in Nigeria. The meeting in collaboration with the Exxon Mobil funded ‘Malaria No More’ was held in a media chat with journalists in Abuja, yesterday.

National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NC, NMEP), Dr. Nnenna Ezeigwe, said “ Evidence has shown that when used correctly and consistently the Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) is effective in preventing malaria, more so when over 80 per cent of the population use Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) it is possible to flush out malaria transmission and make the total eradication of malaria reality.

“We are wining the war against malaria but an ordinary person might not be convinced except to see the data. We are undertaking a nationwide survey that will come out by the end of the year its a malaria indicator survey and it will tell us exactly where we are, but from a lot of small surveys happening across the country we are seeing that the prevalence of malaria is coming down and the study was encouraging which shows that there is a gradual shift in prevalence from the year 2000 to 2010”

She beckoned on the media to pass the message across to Nigerians, in the aspect of usage of the Long Lasting Insecticidal nets, according to her she said “ we are doing a replacement campaign which was a follow up to the LLINs universal mass campaign that started in 2009. After three years the effectiveness of the net comes down which requires the replacement of the nets that are old or physical torn or chemical ineffective

“We can only take the horse to the river but cant force the horse to drink water,” she said.

Country Director of the Exxon Mobil/’Malaria No More’, Dayo Oluwole, described Malaria as the number one killer across sub-Saharan Africa.
With the objective of delivering over 47 million LLINs to populations in 17 states where existing nets had reached their normal End of Life (EoL) having been used for three years or more, the prioritization of states for replacement campaigns was based on states that recorded less than 75 percent coverage during the mass campaigns that ran from 2009 to 2013.

“With Nigeria bearing 25 percent of the effects, children under five years old are the most at risk. Though we are all at risk, the tested and most effective preventive measure as recognized across the world is the use of LLINs which can last as long as three to four years,” Dayo said.

“The Federal Ministry of Health through the NMEP has in this year alone distributed over 31 million nets across 13 states. It’s a big country and a big problem but people need to use these nets for Malaria prevention.”

Dayo stated that it is the major responsibility of individuals and to get their LLINs from the right sources.

“People should stop buying their nets from the traffic hawkers. LLINs can be acquired from certified pharmacies and health clinics.”

The LLINs replacement campaign had commenced in the last quarter of 2013, shortly after the conclusion of the LLINs universal mass campaign that has commenced in May 2009.

According to the National Malaria Control Programme Report, the campaign shows that a total of 57,773,191 of the planned 64,064,949 LLINs were distributed in 36 states and the FCT, representing 90.2 per cent of the total National target.
The concept was to saturate every state with LLINs to achieve 100 per cent ownership and at least 80 per cent utilization.

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