By Andy Chukwu
The United States Government, through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), donated 1.75 million bed nets in Nigeria’s Ebonyi state as part of a national campaign to provide enough nets for every Nigerian to be protected from the deadly disease every night.
The PMI program is jointly implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP). The life-saving nets will go to every local government area in the state.
USAID Deputy Mission Director, Katie Donohoe, at a ceremony marking the start of the campaign, urged the people of Ebonyi to cultivate the habit and set good examples for the children by sleeping under a net every night.
“We all work together to protect ourselves by sleeping under a bed net every night, we can control malaria for the good health of everyone,” she said.
In addition to the nets, valued at $4.9 million, PMI also provided an additional $1.1 million for logistics, including transportation and community mobilization – for a total contribution of $6 million, carried out in partnership with the Ebonyi government, which led the planning, coordination, and distribution effort.
The bed net distribution is a critical component of the ongoing effort to end malaria in Nigeria, which killed an estimated 82,000 people in 2017 and is the leading killer of children in the country. Malaria is especially prevalent during the rainy season, when the mosquito population increases.
Ugbala Kenneth Igwe, Secretary to the Ebonyi government, who declared the bed net campaign open, saidl the efforts are geared towards the reduction of the burden of malaria in the state.]
“With the distribution of these long-lasting nets, I assure you that the burden of malaria will continue to decline until we get to next to zero malaria case reporting in the state,” Igwe said.
Since 2011, PMI has procured 57 million insecticide-treated nets, valued at $126 million as part of a $564 million overall contribution to malaria control in Nigeria. PMI also supports advocacy and mobilization to encourage members of the community to sleep under the bed nets every night, and trains health workers to test for malaria before treatment.