By: Tunde Oyekola, Osogbo.
The Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Wednesday renewed his administration’s commitment to promote healthy living among citizenry through the provision of state-of-the-art health facilities in all the hospitals across the state.
He said no stone would be left unturned until the scourge of malaria disease caused by mosquitoes is defeated in the state.
Governor Aregbesola who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titilayo Laoye-Tomori stated this at the flag-off ceremony of the replacement campaign of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs) held at Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo.
It would be recalled that similar exercise was carried out in 2013 during which 1.6 million treated nets were distributed to the residents of the state.
The flag-off ceremony is aimed at inagurating 3million pieces of LLINs anti-malaria mosquito nets to complement the efforts being made so far in the fight against malaria in the state.
Governor described malaria as one of the factors mitigating against productivity and as well causing poverty in the country, saying his government would not rest on its oars to wage war against the scourge.
He noted that studies have shown that malaria contributed significantly to poverty because it reduces productivity by as much as 40 per cent and increases household expenditure on drugs and treatment
from five to 20 per cent.
Aregbesola held that malaria also reduces life expectancy by about 20 years where it is accompanied by poverty, thus informed the need by his government in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health and
Global Fund to focus more on prevention of malaria than curing it.
“In spite of the huge amount the governments both the Federal and the State spend in the provision of curative malaria drugs with the support received from the Global Fund, the state still records high rate of malaria cases, hence the shift to prevention of mosquito bites through the current use of treated nets by sleeping inside the net and taking other preventive measures like discouraging stagnant water in our premises to reduce the breeding site of mosquitoes in and around our premises.
“Malaria still claims up to one million lives a year and most of these deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa, a part of the world in which our country is located. Of this huge number, 75 per cent are children under five years.
“It is also a known fact that Nigeria alone bears about 25 percent of Africa’s malaria burden. Deaths from malaria account for up to 11 percent of maternal mortality (death of pregnant women up to six weeks
after delivery), it is sad to note that 25 per cent deaths among children below one year, 30 percent of deaths among children under five years and 60 percent of all hospital presentations are recorded from malaria in Nigeria.
“These figures leave no one in any doubt as regards the previous challenge the disease poses to us in the country and our state.
“So, it is in the light of the foregoing, that the State Government, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health and Global Fund, has thought it fit to focus more on prevention of malaria than curing it. This is in line with an adage which says that prevention is better than cure”, Governor added.
Aregbesola stressed that unlike the conventional net that lasts for about six months to one year, saying that the present one could last for three years if instructions are followed as recommended.
He added that the nets will only prevents mosquitoes from making contact with anyone sleeping inside it but have enough holes to allow for free airflow and easy breathing.
“The chemical that is used to treat the nets has an excito-repellant effect that adds a chemical barrier to the physical one, further reducing human-vector contact and increasing the protective efficacy of the mosquito nets without any harmful effect on the users.
“The distribution of the insecticide treated nets will complement our ongoing drive against malaria which has recorded significant successes.
“It is also part of our unwavering objective to ensure sound health for our people and malaria is a threat to achieving this goal hence in the State of Osun we are committed to roll back malaria out of our state and we do not intend to relent until it is defeated”.
The Governor while appealing to doctors and healthcare givers in the state on the need to put the people’s interest above personal emoluments said every profession is a social calling to serve the
people with honour and integrity.
He said modulated salary structure in the state was arrived at after careful deliberation and concurrence of all the unions, including representatives of the government, workers, retirees and doctors.
“It would therefore amount to an invitation to chaos to single out the doctors for special treatment. We regard all the workers as important and will not look down on some while caressing others and showering
them with special treatment”, he noted.
The Governor therefore appreciated the efforts of the State Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Society for Family Health in organising the event.