Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The United States Government has distributed a total number of 3.3 million insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria in Akwa Ibom State.
In a statement by the Information Office, Public Affairs Section, Embassy of the United States of America, the US said the bed nets distributed through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), was worth $9.7 million.
The PMI, according to the Embassy, was jointly implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The US Government further said the bed nets will be distributed in all local government areas of the state.
“The bed nets valued at $9.7 million, will be distributed in all local government areas of the state.
“The US government also provided an additional $1.6 million for logistics, including transportation and community mobilisation for a total contribution of $11.3 million.
“The Akwa Ibom State Government led the planning, coordination, and distribution effort which concluded on October 12,” the statement read.
The US further said the bed net distribution is a critical component of the ongoing effort to end malaria in Nigeria, which killed an estimated 107,000 people in 2016.
It added that the disease is especially prevalent during the rainy season when the mosquito population is on the increase.
“This activity will benefit the 5.9 million residents of Akwa Ibom. At a minimum, two people within each household will have at least one net for use to prevent malaria under the distribution plan. A similar distribution will begin in late November in Bauchi State.
“Sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net every night is one of the best ways to prevent malaria.
“Bed nets put a vital barrier between people and the mosquitoes that carry malaria, most importantly during the hours from dusk to dawn.
“Nightly use of insecticide-treated bed nets prevents infections, which in turn prevents the spread of malaria.
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“Since 2011, PMI has procured 42 million insecticide treated nets for Nigeria, valued at $126 million. Over 50 percent of the overall $490 million in US funding for malaria control goes into procuring and distributing insecticide treated bed nets, malaria diagnostic kits, and malaria medicines.
“In addition, PMI supports advocacy and mobilisation to encourage members of the community to sleep under the bed nets every night, and trains health workers to test for malaria before treatment,” the US further said.
On his part, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, said the distribution was a call to action.
“The provision of these bed nets is a call to action to us in the state government to even do more for the health of our people,” Ukpong said.