The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), on Friday donated 4.5 million bed nets worth 18 million dollars to the Oyo State Governor, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi. The equipment was handed over to the governor in Ibadan by the USAID Mission Director Representative, Dr Rick Niska, a statement from the Information Unit if U.S. Embassy, Abuja said.
According to the statement, the agency also provided additional 4.5 million dollars to support the logistics for the state’s anti-malaria campaign. Niska stated that the bed nets valued at 13.5 million dollars would be distributed through a mass campaign scheduled to take place on Saturday within the 33 local government areas of the state.
“U.S. also provided an additional 4.5 million dollars to support the logistics of the campaign, including transportation of the bed nets, community mobilization, training, and household mobilisation. “These nets and the support for distribution are a gift from the people of the U.S. to the people of Oyo State. “We congratulate you on the ambition, initiative, and dedication it takes to plan, coordinate, and launch a statewide mass distribution of bed nets,” Niska stated.
He explained that malaria was one of the leading killers of children and a leading cause of illness in Nigeria, particularly during the rainy season when the mosquito population increases. The envoy stated that nightly use of an insecticide-treated bed net is the best way to prevent malaria.
“Bed nets put a vital barrier between people and the mosquitoes that carry malaria, particularly during the hours from dusk to dawn. “Use of insecticide-treated bed nets prevents infections, which in turn prevents the spread of malaria. Bed nets help to interrupt that cycle. “A bed net not only protects an individual –when bed nets are used by everyone, particularly those who are already sick with malaria – bed nets also prevent others from becoming infected,” he said.
According him the U.S. has provided $419 million to control malaria in Nigeria. He said that more than 50 per cent of U.S. funding for malaria had gone into procuring and distributing insecticide-treated bed nets, malaria diagnostic kits and malaria medicines. “ U.S. also supports advocacy and community mobilization to sleep under the bed nets every night, training of health workers, and test for malaria before treatment,” he said.
A cross-section of traditional rulers, and Federal and State government officials attended the event, showing their support for overcoming malaria in Oyo State.