By Ali Baba-Inuwa
Abuja – The United States has donated 3.85 million long lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets to Bauchi state as part of its comprehensive effort to control malaria across Nigeria.
This is contained in a statement by the U.S Embassy in Abuja on Tuesday.
“At a ceremony the U.S handed health officials 3.85 million long lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets as part of its comprehensive effort to control malaria across Nigeria.
“The donation was made possible through the U.S President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and jointly implemented by the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The handover ceremony marked the start of a five-day distribution of bed nets valued at 7.7 million dollars across all Local Government Areas of the state.
“The U.S Government also provided an additional 2 million dollars for logistics, transportation and community mobilisation – a total contribution of 9.7 million dollars.”
The embassy said that the State Government provided the storage facility and led the planning, coordination, and distribution effort.
“In our partnership to fight malaria, I will like to appeal to and encourage the good people of Bauchi to sleep under a treated bed net every night and roll it up during the day to protect the net from damage,” the embassy quotes Dr Mark Maire, PMI Resident Malaria Advisor in Nigeria as saying.
“With proper care, these bed nets can last for three years or more.
“Sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net every night is proven to be the best way to prevent malaria.
“The nets put a vital barrier between people and the mosquitoes that carry malaria, particularly from dusk to dawn. Malaria is one of the leading killers of children in Nigeria, particularly during the rainy season when the mosquito population increases.”
Also speaking, Gov. Mohammed Abubakar thanked the U.S for the gesture.
“Considering the immense support from partners and the state government’s commitment to malaria elimination, I am optimistic that in the nearest future, malaria will no longer be a major public health concern in Bauchi State,” Abubakar said after receiving the donation.
The embassy added: “Malaria control is a centerpiece to the USAID health portfolio, which also supports increasing access to health services – especially for the poor.
“The U.S believes investing in the health of the Nigerian people can command great economic returns in terms of work productivity and overall quality of life.
“Since 2011, the U.S government has spent more than 490 million dollars to control malaria in Nigeria, including distribution of nearly 40 million mosquito nets.
“This has resulted in a 36 percent reduction in malaria incidence among children under age five, according to the most recent Malaria Indicator Survey conducted in 2015.
“More than half of U.S funding for malaria goes into procuring and distributing insecticide treated bed nets, malaria diagnostic kits, and malaria medicines.” (NAN)