By NBF News

The Federal Government has restated its commitment to partnering with all state governments and relevant stakeholders in stemming the scourge of malaria in the country. Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu gave this assurance while flagging off distribution of over 1.9 million Long Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets (LLINs), which are to be given free to every household in Benue State.

At the event, which took place at Gbajimba, the headquarters of Guma Local Government Area in Benue State, the Minister regretted that despite concise efforts by the federal government to control malaria in the country, it has continued to remain a burden, which has continued to ravage major communities in the country.

'Malaria burden still remains a major public health problem in Nigeria, contributing significantly to the poor childhood and maternal morbidity and mortality in the country. This is unacceptable and every effort must be put in place to stop this trend.' Represented by the National Coordinator, National Malaria Control Programme, Dr. Durojaiye David, the Health Minister who commended the   renewed effort to effectively stem the scourge of malaria in the country, disclosed that 63 million LLINs would be distributed in all states of the federation including Abuja before the end of 2013, adding that over 41.944 million of the nets are already being distributed in 28 states.

Also speaking, First Lady of Benue State, Mrs. Dooshima Suswam maintained that LLINs are more durable and cost-effective than previous insecticide treated bed nets, which require annual retreatment and called on families to be consistent in using them to prevent mosquito bites which cause malaria. Mrs. Suswam noted that correct and consistent usage of the nets is important to achieve reduction in mosquito transmission and malaria burden.

While regretting that malaria has been responsible for avoidable deaths, especially among pregnant women and children under five years of age, the First Lady maintained that roughly 50 per cent of the world's population is at risk just as an estimated 350 to 500 million cases occur yearly across approximately 100 countries, 45 of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.