Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has charged Deltans to make use of the Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) as a veritable way to curb the spread of malaria disease.
The Governor who spoke at the flag-off of the LLINs campaign at which he was represented by his Deputy, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro at the event Centre, Okpanam Road, Asaba pleaded with Deltans to collectively fight the scourge of malaria which he said can be eliminated if all will work assiduously to achieve that aim.
He explained that Nigeria contributes a quarter of the malaria burden in Africa, as 97 per cent of the population in Nigeria is at risk and it is responsible for about 66 per cent of all clinic attendances, a situation that and a huge challenge on our developmental efforts.
He pointed out that the LLINs campaign is, therefore, a serious and practical commitment of the state governments toward the healthcare of our people, stressing that human development begins with ensuring that the people are healthy.
The Governor said that he believes that prevention is the best approach to taming the scourge of Malaria, given the emergence of parasites resistant to arteemisinin, the essential ingredients for artimisinin-base combination therapy (ACTs) which is used in the treatment of the disease.
He affirmed that as part “of our urban renewal efforts, is the determination to reduce the effects of flooding in the state, by clearing drainages, while new ones are being constructed in areas where they are needed. It is a fact that clean drainages are bound to reduce breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which is the causative agent of Malaria.”
Governor Okowa stated further that besides calling on Deltans to keep their environment clean, and free of containers with stagnant water, there will be aggressive campaign to ensure that every household in the state gets at least two sets of the long-lasting treated mosquito nets.
Charging Deltans to make use of the Nets, and more importantly, since they are not for sale because they have been paid for by the government and anyone caught collecting money before giving out the net would be regarded as working against the people and government interest.
The Governor assured that his government would remain committed to its citizens as their programmes and policies are aimed towards the empowerment of the people through good health and capacity building in order to stimulate self-employment, appealing that all should take advantage of this health programme to improve on their health status.
The wife of the Governor, Dame Edith Okowa appealed to Deltans to always make good use of the free mosquito nets so that they will always maintain the good health status.
She charged Deltans to ensure that they keep a clean environment, pointing out that a dirty environment is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and that the malaria scourge is on the increase in the state, therefore all hands must be on deck to halt its further spread.
Mrs Okowa also urged Deltans to always pay their bills to all private waste disposals so that our environment would be neat at all time since government alone cannot be responsible for making our environment clean while appealing that the people should away sleep in their Nets to avoid mosquito bites.
The permanent secretary Delta State Ministry of Health, Dr Mininim Oseji, who early read her speech during the event, said the campaign is a giant stride toward raising the present use of insecticide-treated Nets from 18 per cent (2015 MIS) to at least 80 per cent which will, in turn, reduce malaria burden in Delta State.
She noted: “We are all aware that malaria is a global problem and that it has existed with man for ages, but it’s unfortunate that sub-Sahara Africans couldn’t take a cue from Western Nations that successfully eradicated malaria decades ago.
She added that the damages caused by this tiny creature cannot be overemphasised and must be tackled with all seriousness until it ceases to be a public health challenge.