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USAID/NetMark Distributes 35,000 Free Insecticide-Treated Nets in Nigeria

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With the support of the State Ministries of Health and local NGOs such as Malaria Parasite: Africa Fights Back and the Delybimb Malaria Foundation, USAID’s NetMark project distributed 35,000 free insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) to vulnerable residents in Kano and Lagos.

During the exercises, Dr. Garba Abdu of USAID/Nigeria emphasized the scope of malaria in Africa and particularly in Nigeria, calling it one of the deadliest diseases on the continent. Distribution of free nets, he said, is one of several interrelated steps towards Nigeria’s realization of the 2002 Abuja Declaration.

Representatives from the Health Commissioner assured residents that controlling malaria in Nigeria, where the disease accounts for an economic burden of over USD 1 billion per year, is a government priority. To combat the staggering challenge of malaria, the government has adopted a multi-faceted approach that involves widespread ITN distribution, community mobilization, collaboration with NGOs, environmental spraying, and provision of drugs to vulnerable groups.

NetMark’s distribution in Kano and Lagos was part of the larger USAID effort to distribute 245,000 free ITNs to the most vulnerable groups, which include children under the age of five and pregnant women. Locations are selected based on the local population’s susceptibility to malaria as well as its accessibility to such programs in the past; similar distributions will take place in the states of Abuja, Cross River, Abia, and Nassarawa.

NetMark’s Nigeria Country Manager, Mr. Oluwole Adeusi, added that the free distribution programs, which are often accompanied by public education campaigns on other health issues ranging from exclusive breast-feeding to immunizations, would continue until ITN distribution had achieved universal coverage across Nigeria.

Posted June 2008

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