Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State has flagged off the distribution of Insecticide-Treated Nets and other Seasonal Malaria Chemo-prevention regimen, as part of the ongoing efforts to eliminate Malaria in the State.
He said, even though Malaria was preventable and curable, it was still a public health challenge across the world, but most importantly in sub-Saharan Africa.
According Governor Yahaya, the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, Malaria remain one of the leading causes of deaths, particularly among children under the age of five and pregnant women.
“This disease over burdens the already weakened health system and exerts a severe social and economic burden on the nation thereby retarding the Gross Domestic Product GDP by 40 percent annually and costing approximately 480 million naira in out of budget expenditure for the people and loss of productive hours,” Governor Yahaya said.
He expressed delight on the reports indicating a decline in the number of Malaria-associated deaths, attributing the achievements to the collective efforts of all partners, especially those present at the flag off.
“The use of insecticide treated nets and the administration of seasonal malaria chemo-prevention medicines has been proven to be one of the most effective durable and cost effective Malaria preventive interventions,” said Governor Yahaya.
He said the official flag off campaigns would signal the commencement of the distribution of over 2.3 million nets to the people of State.
“On this note, Government of Gombe State in partnership with the Global Fund will officially flag-off these two campaigns that will signal the commencement of distribution of over 2.3 million nets to the people of Gombe State on a door-to-door basis and using same approach to administer SPAQ for seasonal malaria chemoprevention to 796,988 children per month for a period of four (4) months across all the 11 Local Government Areas in the State,” Governor Yahaya said.
He said one of the topmost priorities of his administration was to safeguard the lives and property of all, through prevention and improvement in health service in the State.
Governor Yahaya said the government had approved the use of over 580 health facilities and deployed over 2000 health workers for the successful implementation of the campaigns, with a fulfilled financial obligations to ensure a hitch free campaign.
He appealed to philanthropists and corporate organisations to compliment Government’s efforts in Malaria control, through finance or other supporting interventions like the donation of long lasting insecticide treated nets and sulphur doxine pherimetmine S.P for intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women, Chemicals indoor malaria spray and drugs.
“I wish to also thank the development partners who have worked and are still working tirelessly with the State government in other to ensure the smooth implementation of the campaign especially in the midst of the covid-19 Pandemic; the global fund malaria, National Malaria Elimination Program, the Catholic Relief Services the Chemonics and all other development partners,” said Governor Yahaya
The Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanare said Gombe State was one among the first set of states where ITN assessment campaign would be carried in 2021, which would see to the distribution of over 15 million nets in all the states.
The Minister, who was represented by Pharmacist Talatu Yahaya, said the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Elimination Programme had since adopted the use of ITNs and SMC medicines as medication for eligible children as one of the key strategy for the prevention of malaria in the country.
In the meantime, the National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme, Dr. Perpetual Ohomoige, represented by the Programme Manager, Global Fund, Dr. Isa Kawu, commended the Gombe State Government for displaying capacity in the effective management and implementation of the Global Fund grant geared towards fighting malaria in the State.
In recognition of her contribution in the fight against Malaria in Gombe State, the wife of the Gombe State Governor, Mrs. Asma’u Inuwa Yahaya, was awarded and decorated as the Net Campaign Ambassador for the State.
Responding, Mrs Yahaya said, being the Net Ambassador of the State, she would explore different channels and resources to disseminate messages on the use of the Insecticide Treated Mosquito Nets, to protect families from mosquito bites by sleeping inside their nets every night.