Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, on Monday, flagged off the distribution of 2.3 million Insecticides Treated Nets (ITNs) across the 11 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
Yahaya said the exercise signalled the distribution of free ITNs and Sulphadoxine-Pyrimethamine (SPAQ) for seasonal malaria chemoprevention in the state.
He said the state government had approved the use of 580 facilities and deployed more than 200 health workers while providing all the logistics, financial support needed to ensure the successful implementation of the malaria intervention programme.
He said malaria was a major public health issue globally particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
“According to the National Demographic Health Survey, 2018 malaria was one of the leading causes of deaths among children under-five years and pregnant women.
“This disease overburdened our public health system and exerts severe social and economic burden on the nation.
“It is estimated that malaria retards the gross domestic product by 40 per cent annually and cost approximately N480 billion in out of pocket expenditure and loss of man-hours,” he said.
He said malaria was preventable and curable and over the years there had been a reduction in malaria-related deaths.
He also called on traditional and religious leaders to join hands in the fight against malaria by urging their people to keep their environment clean.
Dr Perpetua Uhomoibui, National Coordinator, Malaria Elimination Programme, said the campaign was a collaborative effort of the Federal Government with support from various partners.
He said in spite of the tremendous effort by the government to tackle malaria, the disease remained public health threat hence the need for such collaboration.
According to him, the last time such campaign was conducted in Gombe State was in 2015.
Represented by Dr Isa Kawo, Programme Manager, Global Fund for Malaria, Uhomoibui said the massive malaria campaign would ensure the reduction of malaria in states.
He thanked the Gombe government for all the support given to them to ensure the successful implementation of the programme.
“You have demonstrated your capacity that is why we are witnessing the flag off.
“We thank you for releasing the counterparts funding and we urge you to maintain the tempo so that we can eliminate malaria,” he said.
Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, said the campaign would lead to the distribution of 2.3 million ITNs and 797 Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention for the use of three to 59 month-old children in the state.
The minister expressed appreciation to the state government for its support as well as traditional leaders for creating an environment conducive to the campaign.
He said Gombe State was one of the 18 states in the country selected for the programme, urging the public to reciprocate the gesture by using the nets.
The minister was represented by Mrs Talatu Yahaya, Head of Procurement and Supply Chain Management branch of the National Malaria Elimination Programme,
Hajia Asama’u Yahaya, the wife of the governor and ITNs Ambassador in the state, called on the public to properly utilise the nets.
“I am calling on the public to ensure utilisation of the nets; we want our state to get the highest per cent in terms of net usage in the country,“ she said.
She enjoined the public to provide accurate information to the people distributing the nets.
“Government and partners have played their parts we want the public to reciprocate the gesture by using the nets,” she explained.