Government targets 2013 for malaria eradication

Chinedum Philip | 27 Aug 2009
A new year, 2013 has been set aside by the Federal Government as the new terminal year for the eradication of malaria in the country.

The Minister for Health Babatunde Osotimehin who disclosed this on Wednesday said the new date will enable the country achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) earlier set for 2015.

Mr. Osotimehin, while flagging off the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) campaign at Ubima, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, said the government plans to meet its target through the distribution of about 63 million Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLITNs) between now and the end of 2010.

Chioma Amajoh, the Deputy Director National Malaria and Vector Control Programme represented the minister at the occasion.

The minister said the combined application of spraying, nets and usage of anti-malaria therapy would lead to a total eradication of malaria in the country. He said the IRS was an important public health intervention for countries striving to achieve the MDG-related malaria control goals.

The campaign at Ubima was part of a pilot programme that started in 2006. It has already been held at Epe in Lagos State, Barkin Ladi in Plateau State and Damboa in Borno State.

"Ikwerre IRS exercise is in continuation of this pilot scheme expected to take place in seven states,'' Mr. Osotimehin said.

Sampson Parker, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, said a total of 26, 000 households would be sprayed in four Ikwerre communities of Ipo, Ubima, Ozoaha and Omedeme.

The commissioner was represented by Claribel Abam, who is in-charge of Community Health in the ministry. He said the state plans to replicate the spraying exercise in the other 22 council areas of the state.

Clean environment

Mr. Parker, who spoke of the government's commitment to the provision of healthcare, urged the people to compliment government efforts by keeping their environments clean.

"Rivers is currently constructing 160 model primary health centres, distributing one million LLITNs and anti-malaria drugs. These efforts can only work, if the people imbibe good culture such as supporting clean-up exercise," he said.