The United States Government said yesterday that it has spent about N3.2 billion ($9.7) million worth of mosquito nets and other logistics in Bauchi State.
This was a support by the US government targeted at the eradication of malaria in Nigeria that led to the handing over of about 3.85 million long lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets to the health officials in Bauchi State.
A statement released by the public affairs section, Embassy of the United States of America said the handover ceremony marked the start of a five-day distribution of bed nets valued at $7.7 million across all local government areas in the state.
The U.S. government also provided an additional $2 million for logistics, transportation and community mobilisation –a total contribution of $9.7 million valued at about N3.2 billion.
According to the statement, the Bauchi State government provided the storage facility and led the planning, coordination, and distribution effort.
“In our partnership to fight Malaria, I would like to appeal to and encourage the good people of Bauchi to sleep under a treated bed net every night and roll it up during the day to protect the net from damage,” said Dr Mark Maire, PMI resident Malaria advisor in Nigeria.
“With proper care, these bed nets can last for three years or more,” the statement added.
Sleeping under an insecticide treated bed net every night is proven to be the best way to prevent malaria.
The nets put a vital barrier between people and the mosquitoes that carry malaria, particularly from dusk to dawn. Malaria is one of the leading killers of children in Nigeria, particularly during the rainy season when the mosquito population increases.
“Considering the immense support from partners and the state government’s commitment to malaria elimination, I am optimistic that in the nearest future, malaria will no longer be a major public health concern in Bauchi State,” governor Mohammed Abubakar said after receiving the donation.
Malaria control is a centrepiece to the USAID health portfolio, which also supports increasing access to health services – especially for the poor. The United States believes investing in the health of the Nigerian people can command great economic returns in terms of work productivity and overall quality of life.
Since 2011, the U.S. government said it has spent more than $490 million to control malaria in Nigeria, including distribution of nearly 40 million mosquito nets.
This has resulted in a 36 per cent reduction in malaria incidence among children under age five, according to the most recent Malaria Indicator Survey conducted in 2015.
More than half of US funding for malaria goes into procuring and distributing insecticide treated bed nets, malaria diagnostic kits, and malaria medicines.
The United States said it also supports advocacy and mobilisation to encourage community members to sleep under the bed nets every night, and trains health workers to test for malaria before treatment.