No fewer than 7.3 million beneficiaries have received the Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) across the 25 local government areas of Niger state, an official has said.
Mr Musa Zakari, an official of the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), supporting the Technical Workstream for the 2022 ITN campaign in Niger state, announced this during the 2022 state ITN campaign debriefing in Minna on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Niger state in collaboration with NMEP, Society for Family Health (SFH), Catholic Relief Service and Chemonics, distributed 3.7 million ITN to households to fight malaria in the state.
Zakari disclosed that a total number of 3,762,873 ITN were distributed to 1,469,935 households mobilised using 2,502 device for the campaign across the 25 local government areas of Niger.
He said that the nets were distributed using the 2006 census projected to 2022 of the state, adding that 100 per cent rate of the ITN were distributed.
He added that 9,487 personnel were trained and engaged for the campaign, adding that 68 pieces of ITN were remaining at the state warehouse post campaign.
Zakari, however, listed the challenges encountered during the mobilisation and distribution exercise of ITN to include difficulties in accessing some communities due to peak of raining season.
Other challenges he said were micro plan population was more than the ITN requirement for the state and cases of alleged misuse of nets in some local government areas especially in Bida and Mashegu.
Also, Mr John Ocholi, the Campaign Manager for ITN in Niger, appreciated the Niger government for providing an enabling environment for successful 2022 ITN campaign in the state.
He said that the population of the Niger state was more than the number of nets allocated to the state, adding that more households were covered in 2022 than it was in 2019. Responding, Dr Muhammad Maikusidi, Commissioner for Health and Hospital Management in Niger, commended the partners for providing free nets to residents of the state.
Makusidi, represented by Dr Mohammed Gana, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, said malaria prevalence in the state was still high and appealed to the partners to do more to reduce malaria burden.
The total population in Niger was estimated at 24.2 million people in 2020, according to the latest census figures and projections from Trading Economics.
Gov. Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger has inaugurated the mass distribution of 3.7 million Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) across the state.
Sani-Bello said on Thursday in Minna that the nets were provided in collaboration with some organisations to reduce malaria prevalence in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the organisations include the National Malaria Elimination Programme, Society for Family Health (SHF), Catholic Relief Service (CRS) and Chemonics, with support from Global Fund. “These health interventions are coming at a time that we need to change the narrative of the healthcare indices for the improved healthcare of the people.
“And improve the quality of lives especially among women and children,’’ he said.
The governor directed the state ministry of health and its relevant agencies to close down all illegal clinics and hospitals in the state.
According to him, the illegal health facilities are responsible for most deaths in the state.
“Every life in the state must be accounted for and every death should be investigated,” Sani-Bello said, adding that such facilities operate without required manpower, capacity and equipment.
He emphasised that the ministry must investigate all deaths in such facilities to determine where it was caused by malaria or other diseases, negligence or human error.
In his address, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that the use of ITN was a key strategy for the prevention and elimination of malaria.
Ehanire, represented by Dr Abubakar Usman, Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Bida, said Niger, Delta, Kaduna, Taraba, Yobe, Kano and Anambra benefited from the 2022 malaria intervention in the country.
Earlier, Dr Muhammad Maikudi, Commissioner for Health, said that the distribution of the mosquito nets was to reduce the prevalence of malaria in the state to 33 per cent.
In her goodwill message, Dr Jennifer Anyanti, Deputy Managing Director, SFH, commended Global Fund and CRS for the efforts to reduce the rate of mortality and morbidity caused by malaria in the state.
Also, Mr Emmanuel Abuh of Information Communication Technology for Development, said they have deployed about 2,500 devices to ensure effective and seamless distribution of the ITN.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has attributed the 35 per cent malaria prevalence cases in Niger to low usage of mosquito nets among 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 (ITN) campaign to Gov. Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger in Minna on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Niger state government is collaborating with NMEP, Society for Family Health (SFH), Catholic Relief Service and Chemonics to distribute over 3.7 million ITN in the state.
Ehanire, represented by Mr Okefu Okoko, Head Integrated Vector Management Branch of NMEP of the 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 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.
He 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 chemo prevention and rapid malaria test kits.
He appealed to the state government to pay it’s counterpart funds of N1.7 billion to ensure that malaria parasite prevalence was reduced below 10 per cent before 2025 and reduce mortality.
Responding, Bello commended NMEP and other malaria control partners for donating over 3.7 million ITN which would go a way in reducing malaria prevalence in the state.
He described the 16 per cent usage of mosquito nets among 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 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 it was supporting Niger Government to distribute 3.7 million ITN to households and create awareness on the nets to ensure it got to everyone in the state.
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Anambra, have cautioned beneficiaries of free Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) in the state, against using them for fishing, or preserving grains, as they are meant to prevent mosquito bites.
Mr Chris Azor, the Chairman, Anambra Civil Society Network (ACSONET) gave the advise when he spoke at a ceremony to commence the distribution of 3.8 million ITNs in the state in Awka. The programme is being handled by the State Government in partnership with Malaria Consortium across all the 21 Local Government Areas(LGAs) of the state.
Azor said that each household would receive between one and four mosquito nets depending on the size of the family.
Also speaking, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Gibson Nwosu who received the team for distributing the nets in his palace on Saturday in Awka commended the donor and government for facilitating the process.
Nwosu however, enjoined the beneficiaries to make good use of the nets as regular usage of the nets had been proven to be effective in checking mortality and morbidity relating to malaria scourge.
During a recent Media engagement, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Afam Obidike, said it was necessary for the people to be well informed about the distribution.
“This exercise is in collaboration with the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Malaria Consortium and with support from GiveWell Open Philanthropic Funding.
“The 2022 Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) mass distribution, which commenced on Aug. 7, is free for every household across the state.
“The objective of the ITN mass campaign is to ensure that for every 2 persons gets one bed-net to sleep inside and the distribution will be done on door-to-door bases across all the 21 LGAs of the State,” Obidike said.
According to him, the newly collected nets must be aired under a shade for 24hours before hanging and sleeping inside.
“When the nets are dirty, wash them with mild soap and stitch with thread and needle if torn,” he said.
The Commissioner while appealing to the residents to cooperate with the distributors, urged the media and relevant stakeholders to help in enlightening the public on the importance of the exercise.
Caroline Okoye, Jude Nnazuo and Felix Nwokedi all worked as town announcers in Awka Ward 2 and Achara Ward 1 in Awka South and Awka North LGAs. According to them, their role was to announce to the residents on the way the nets are to be used and the need for them to adhere to the instructions strictly.
“We use either megaphone or bell to draw the attention of the residents and announce to them to open their gates and collect the free ITN nets.
“We equally inform them to regularly sleep inside the nets that it is a proven means of eliminating the mosquitoes attacks which is the cause of malaria,” Okoye said.
Mrs Bukola Oyetomi and Mrs Nnenaya Uwalaka-Obasi both Coordinators for the campaign in Awka North and Awka South LGAs, said that the exercise was seamless in their areas.
“The people were excited to have the nets and many of them were very hospitable to our field workers,” Uwalaka-Obasi said.
Oyetomi praised the conducts of most community leaders in Isuaniocha, Mgbaku, Amanuke, Achara, Ebenebe and Amansea for their cooperation in ensuring that their subjects were orderly while the exercise lasted.