By Becky John
The Malaria Action Program for States (MAPS), an NGO, on Monday said 97 per cent of Nigerians are prone to malaria attack. A consultant with the project, Mr Umar Garba, said this in Gusau while briefing stakeholders on the importance of using treated mosquito nets.
According to him, four million out of the 4.3 million people in Zamfara alone are at risk of contacting the deadly disease caused by mosquitoes. He explained that 30 percent of the state’s population were admitted to hospitals with malaria, which also was on the rise among children and pregnant women. Umar stated that child and maternal mortality rate in the state was up by 30 percent and 11 percent respectively. The consultant also said that the malaria scourge had resulted in the reduction of the nation’s annual GDP by one percent.
He said MAPS was currently working in Zamfara to distribute 2.6 million treated mosquito nets, as part of efforts to halt the spread of malaria.
“At least, every two persons will have one treated mosquito net with which we hope to largely rid the state of the malaria carrying mosquito.’’
He encouraged people to collect the treated nets which would be distributed free across the 147 wards of the state in August, this year.
“The campaign and mass distribution of the free treated nets at 800 different distribution points, was informed by the poor usage of the commodity in the state.
“In the past, only 10 per cent of pregnant women and nine per cent of children used treated nets in the state.”
He noted that MAPS did similar distribution of the nets in 2010/2011 and that the August exercise was to replace the old ones shared out three years ago. Earlier in his address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Lawal Bungudu urged families in the state to collect and use the nets in order to prevent malaria infection. Bungudu commended MAPS for the gesture, assuring that the state government would continue to partner with relevant organizations to save and improve the lives of its