The Katsina State Government has flagged off the distribution of five million free insecticidal mosquitoes nets across the state, to prevent malaria and promote healthy living.
The state governor, Aminu Masari, who declared the programme open in Daura on Friday, called on the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the treated nets.
He described malaria as a deadly disease which constitutes a huge burden in Africa and continues to retard the economic development of the region.
Mr Masari stressed that the disease remains the leading cause of child and maternal mortality in the country, adding, “a total of 192,284 deaths were recorded in 2016 due to malaria.”
According to him, 60 per cent out-patients, 30 per cent child deaths and 11 per cent of maternal death were caused by malaria, adding that the treatment cost in Nigeria was estimated to be about N132 billion annually.
He said his administration was providing malaria treatment free of charge across all the health facilities in the 34 local government areas, stressing, “we give emphasis on pregnant women and children under five years.”
He said the government also provides free treatment of pneumonia, diarrhoea, vomiting, malnutrition and other child killer diseases.
“We are also providing seasonal malaria chemo prevention SMC in Mashi, Dutsi, Baure and Maiadua LGAs.”
Mr Masari added that his administration has also procured free commodities for antenatal care, intermittent preventive treatment, IPT for malaria as well as provision of equipment required for safe delivery free of charge across all existing secondary health facilities in the state.
He said government also provided free treatment to all accidents victims during first 48 hours, in addition to free kidney dialysis at Katsina General Hospital.
Masari said that the general hospitals in Katsina, Funtua, Daura, Kankia had been renovated and equipped with modern health care facilities, adding that those in Malumfashi, Dutsinma and Musawa are currently undergoing renovation.
He said a bill that would bring the primary health care under one roof has been passed and assented into law, to bring about efficiency into health care delivery, adding that an agency would be set up to manage it.
In his remarks, the minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Abdulaziz Mashi, commended the state government and the donor agencies for making the distribution of the long lasting insecticidal nets possible.
Mr Adewole said the initiative would reduce the rampant cases of malaria infections and promote healthy living among the people.
“I call on the beneficiaries to make maximum utilisation of the facility,” he said, noting that the prevalent rate of malarial infection nationwide has drastically reduced from 47 per cent in 2015 to 27 per cent in 2018.
“If we comply with the rules by using the treated nets effectively we would reduce the disease to barest minimal,” he added.
Earlier, the commissioner of Health, Mariyatu Bala, said the nets would be distributed across 1,893 distribution points and thousands of adhoc staff had been engaged and trained for the week-long exercise.
She said the programme was sponsored by the Katsina State Government, World Health Organisation, WHO, Society for Family Health and the Catholic Relief Service, CRS.
Highlight of the events were a drama presentations on how to guard against malaria and practical demonstration of how the treated mosquito nets would be used by the beneficiaries.
Maryam Daura, one of the beneficiaries thanked the government for the gesture and assured that they would make judicious use of the nets.