The United States of America has reached more than 4.2 million people in Cross River State and distributed 2.3 million Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLIN), as part of efforts to control malaria across Nigeria.
The U.S Embassy in Abuja made this known in a statement on Monday
It stated that the assistance was given to people in over 4,000 communities in Cross River over the last two months.
The statement noted that the Cross River government acknowledged this milestone at a dissemination ceremony in Calabar on June 27 to mark the conclusion of the U. S. Government supported LLIN campaign.
According to the statement, the donation of the treated nets was done through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).
It stated that the project was jointly implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The statement announced that the bed nets valued at 5.7 million dollars, were distributed in all local government areas in the state.
According to the embassy, to complement the bed net donation, PMI provided an additional 1.2 million dollars for logistics, including transportation of the nets, community mobilisation, and training of workers charged with their distribution.
It stated that the closing ceremony was attended by the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Health, Joe Bassey, and other health officials.
The USAID/Nigeria Mission Director, Stephen Haykin, was quoted to have said in its partnership to fight malaria, the US encouraged all Nigerians, especially parents and guardians, to acquire bed nets and use them regularly.
“The use of bed net will benefits individuals, families and communities.
“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,” Mr Haykin stated.
The statement disclosed that malaria was one of the leading killers of children in Nigeria, particularly during the rainy season when the mosquito population increases.
It stated that malaria control was a centerpiece to the USAID health portfolio, which also supported increasing access to health services, especially for the poor.
The statement noted that the United States believed investing in the health of the Nigerian people could command great economic returns in terms of work productivity and overall quality of life.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that since 2011, the U.S. government has invested more than 450 million dollars to control malaria in Nigeria including distribution of nearly 34 million mosquito nets.
This has resulted in a 36 per cent reduction in malaria incidence among children below five years, according to the Malaria Indicator Survey.
More than half of U.S. funding for malaria goes into procuring and distributing insecticide treated bed nets, malaria diagnostic kits, and malaria medicines.
The United States 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.
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