By Iduma Simon
The Ebonyi State government has flagged off the distribution of over 2.83million insecticide treated nets to residents across its 13 Local Government Areas (LGA).
The flag off ceremony took place at Ezza North Local Government headquarters, Ebiaji at the weekend.
The State Malaria Elimination Program Manager, Ministry of Health, Ebonyi State, Mr. Lawrence Nwankwo said the choice of Ezza North LGA for the flag off was to increase awareness and acceptance of the net.
“This is a three to four-year campaign program, the last one was done in 2019; before that, we had one in 2015, all in this administration. Each time the net expires after three years, we need to replace it. So, that is what we are doing today.
“Distribution of the nets started today here in Ezza North being the state flag-off, it will go through from the 3rd to the 4th of February this year and every household in Ebonyi must have received their nets,” Mr. Nwankwo said.
On the quantity of nets to be distributed, he said: “We are looking at one million seven hundred and eighty-six thousand nets but what we received this year was two million and eighty-three thousand. In 2019, we distributed 1.7m but in 2023 we are distributing two million, eighty-three, and some fractions thousand nets to households in Ebonyi.
“The net is a donation from USAID PMI. They support the state each period with these long-lasting insecticide nets. The state at intervals also procures nets to support the provisions of the partner.”
This year’s mass campaign, according to Nwankwo, is targeted at every household, adding that ” the other routine distribution which will come after this campaign will target children under 5 years and pregnant women.”
“We will support ownership in the household through routine distribution which will be given to children that have completed immunization and also given to pregnant women that have gone for ANC at the facilities,” he added.
The Executive Chairman of Ezza North LGA, Ogodo Ali Moses Nomeh, in his address noted that Malaria, which is caused by the bite of female anopheline mosquitoes, remained one of the deadliest diseases in Africa and Nigeria in particular.
“Government at all levels exist for the welfare of the people and society including the protection of life through disease prevention and control, because we have established the fact that malaria is a deadly disease, and we cannot just sit down and fold our arms, hence the fight against malaria through multi-pronged approaches like distribution of the nets, malaria testing, and treatment, etc,” he said.
Mr Ogodo-Ali admonished those involved in the Mosquito Net Distribution not to see the exercise as a political campaign.
He said they must ensure that the nets are distributed equitably to all inhabitants of Ezza North and the State in general.
He thanked the State Governor, David Umahi, for providing the needed support and enabling environment for the conduct of the Net Distribution Campaigns for the third time in his administration and importantly the choice of Ezza North as a centre for democracy.