Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has flagged off the distribution of 2.9 million long lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets to residents of the state.
The nets distribution was facilitated by the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) with support from Global Fund in partnership with Ondo state government.
Akeredolu, who commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro expressed, regrets that malaria still remained a major public health problem in Nigeria despite preventable measures.
He said that malaria constituted a major economic burden in the country because about N148 billion was lost annually in the form of treatment cost and prevention.
The governor said that the critical elements needed to achieve positive change in fight against malaria was the change in behavioral and social norms with regards to sleeping inside treated mosquito nets.
“The ownership and use of the nets has remained the most cost effective and easily deployed methods for malaria prevention.
The governor said the distribution of the nets was to ensure universal coverage of the populace in the state.
Similarly, the governor’s wife, Mrs. Betty Ayanwu-Akeredolu, said malaria infection still posed a great threat to health and socio-economic wellbeing of many Nigerians.
Ayanwu-Akeredolu who was honored as net ambassador in the state by the Catholic Relief Service (CRS), encouraged the people to use the nets correctly so that there would be effectiveness of the campaign.
She said nobody should sell the nets because some organizations and government paid for them.
“These nets do not come free, as a lot of funds have gone into it; therefore let us use the nets for what they are meant for and not for fishing but sleeping inside them after hanging for 24 hours.
“I have committed myself for Ondo State that is free of malaria and if we all make concerted efforts, we will create the Ondo State we deserve and history will not forget us,” she said.
Mrs Rebecca Bassey, the representative of Catholic Relief Services, said that over 16.5 million nets were being distributed in six states in Nigeria, Ondo State being one of them.
Bassey who was represented by Pharmacist Gbenga Jokodola noted that the state had demonstrated itself to be a dependable and reliable partner, considering its show of love for giving safe and conducive environment for the campaign.
She added that the exercise would no doubt contribute immensely to collective efforts towards eliminating malaria from the state and Nigeria in general.