By Paul Nwosu

The season of rainfall is here, and it is the time when mosquitoes proliferate. Mosquitoes happen to be the bearers of killer malaria. The Anambra State Government does not want to be caught napping. To check the danger of mosquito bites therefore, government recently flagged-off the distribution of 3.8 million insecticide-treated nets to the people of Anambra State.
It was a sight to behold as Governor Charles Ckukwuma Soludo performed the flag-off ceremony of the free distribution of the insecticide-treated nets at Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, on Thursday, June 9.
The distribution of the nets was carried out in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Malaria Consortium.
While flagging-off the well-attended event, Professor Soludo appealed to all residents of Anambra State not to take the exercise for granted. The Governor extolled the magnanimous funding from the Malaria Consortium partners. He said that the campaign is geared to start with an elaborate sensitisation programme that will serve as a forerunner to the distribution of the nets. He stressed that the distribution of the 3.8 million mosquito nets is part of the efforts to ensure healthy living. He revealed that the lifespan of the net is about three years, adding that vaccination against malaria is being rolled out in the journey to zero malaria in Anambra State.
In his bid to get all of Ndi-Anambra involved in the pivotal campaign, he charged women, traditional rulers and Presidents-General of town unions to play major roles in mobilising the communities in the distribution process.
Even as he noted that there are several households who may not need the nets, he directed that households that really need them should receive more than a net when the distribution commences. He made an appeal to the distribution team to ensure equitable distribution of the mosquito nets.
The wife of Mr. Governor, Mrs Nonye Soludo who expressed her delight while being decorated as “Net Ambassador”, assured that households will be duly registered and given the nets. The amiable lady advised everyone to make themselves available by providing the relevant information for the distribution exercise which will commence from August 2 to 17.
Dignitaries at the august event included functionaries from the Federal Ministry of Health and the United Nations agencies in Anambra State; wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Oluchi Ibezim; Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Uche Okafor; Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu; Head of Service, Barrister Theodora Igwegbe; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi, and members of Anambra State Executive Council.
While stressing that Governor Soludo is determined to provide quality healthcare to Ndi Anambra, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Afam Obidike, posits that the net distribution exercise demonstrates the administration zero tolerance in the fight against malaria. The commissioner informed the audience that studies have shown that the use of nets is low in the state and revealed that choosing this period to undertake the distribution is due to the fact that malaria increases during the rainy season.
The West and Central Africa Programme Director of Malaria Consortium, Dr. Kolawole Maxwell spoke eloquently on the public health impact of the malaria burden. He averred that if the menace of malaria is eliminated, the economic benefits will be immeasurable.
He declared that Nigeria is committed to the elimination of malaria by 2025, just like other countries are poised to do. He thus pleaded with the government and people of the state to receive and make use of the nets.
The alliance of the Anambra State Government with the Federal Ministry of Health and Malaria Consortium in the distribution of 3.8 million insecticide-treated nets across Anambra State to check the spread of malaria is a compliment to the governments efforts toward imbibing healthy living and environmental hygiene to reduce and eventually kick-out malaria in Anambra.
According to Dr. Kolawole Maxwell, Malaria Consortium has secured about 14 million dollars to procure and commence the distribution campaign. He disclosed that the funds came from international philanthropists in response to a cost-effective malaria intervention in the state, recalling that the last time international partners funded malaria intervention was in 2014. Forging ahead, the consortium then secured about 14 million dollars to procure and distribute highly cost-effective Piperonyl Butoxide (PBO) insecticide-treated nets and provide additional public health benefits over conventional ones.
The occasion was marked with the symbolic presentation of nets to a few beneficiaries.

SIR PAUL NWOSU Commissioner for Information,
Anambra State.

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