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The Minister of Health, Prof. Issac Adewole, says the anti-malaria campaign has achieved remarkable progress with the prevalence dropping from 42 per cent in 2012 to 27 per cent in 2015.

Adewole said this at the launch of the 2017 Long Lasting Insecticidal (LLI) Nets replacement campaign in Owerri.

The minister, who was represented by the National Coordinator, Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of the Ministry, Dr Nnenna Ezeigwe, described the campaign as “absolutely important”, adding that the use of LLI nets had been adjudged the most effective strategy against the disease.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to imbibe the culture of using LLI nets, to ensure effective malaria control.

He also advised recipients of the nets to disregard rumours of health risks associated with its use, stressing that they are very safe.

Adewole noted that Imo had the highest malaria prevalence and therefore, enjoined the people of the state to keeping their environments clean as well as use insect screens on doors and windows.

In his remark, Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo noted that malaria treatment costs the country an estimated N133 billion yearly.

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Okorocha commended the efforts of the Roll-back Malaria partners and pledged the support of his administration for better results.

He mandated traditional and religious leaders as well as state development council coordinators to ensure that the exercise ran smoothly.

Earlier in her address, the wife of the governor, Mrs Nkechi Okorocha, noted that malaria had caused incalculable loss of lives.

According to her, the net is a major preventive measure and its use will save millions of lives.

In a remark, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Matters, Dr Angela Uwakwem, said that 16,000 trained distributors would be stationed at the 917 distribution centres in the state and urged women to collect for their families with their “Net Cards”.

Meanwhile, the representative of the Catholic Relief Services, Dr Joanna Nwosu, urged the campaign partners not to relent in the anti-malaria campaign to ensure total eradication of the disease in Nigeria.

NAN reports that the event witnessed the investiture of Mrs Okorocha as the 2017 LLI Nets Replacement Campaign Net Ambassador with 27 representatives from all the local government areas of the state as net advocates.

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