The decision of the promoters of Mortein to embark on awareness creation is attracting commendation from stakeholders, who considered it an ideal Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
Stakeholders, including Bayelsa State Government and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) have endorsed the health, safety and potency of handlers of Mortein, an insecticide, in the fight against malaria scourge.
According to recent findings, available statistics shows that malaria is still a burden as cause of maternal and infant mortality in Nigeria, accounting for about 11 per cent of maternal deaths, especially in first-time mothers.
The statistics also revealed that malaria accounts for about 25 per cent of deaths in infants and 30 per cent of deaths in young children in Nigeria.
The stakeholders, who spoke at the just-ended NANNM's 6th Biennial/5th Quadrennial Conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said the high prevalence of malaria in Africa and Nigeria in particular called for an all-inclusive proactive step to stem the menace. Hence, they commended Reckitt Benckiser's Mortein insecticide-led anti-malaria awareness and sensitisation programme through which the company is spearheading a malaria-free Nigeria. Mortein and the association for nurses and midwives in the country are partnering on the campaign.
Speaking at the conference, which was attended by over 5,000 delegates from across Nigeria, the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, who unveiled the Mortein product as the sponsor brand for the conference, said the partnership between NANNM and the leading insecticide brand would go a long way in the fight against malaria in this country.
Represented by a member of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Emelah Gentle, the governor said it was a demonstration of love and commitment not just to the people of Bayelsa, but to Nigeria as a whole.
"Complementary efforts of this nature are not only needed but deeply appreciated by the Government of Bayelsa State. This will certainly go a long way in ensuring that our children and mothers are free from the scourge of malaria", he said.
National President of the association, Mr. Lawal Dutsinma lamented that malaria was a major health concern at the moment because of the alarming statistics on its prevalence in the country. He noted that being the most common cause of maternal and infant mortality, it was imperative to involve all relevant stakeholders in the ongoing effort to stem the trend.
He described the Reckitt Benckiser's Mortein-inspired initiative on malaria as a right step in the right direction, stating that NANNM was delight to associate with the programme in particular for targeting children and mothers who are the most vulnerable groups as far as malaria disease is concerned. He also expressed optimism that the malaria challenge would become history as more Nigerians become well informed about the steps they need to take so that they and members of their families are protected against malaria parasite carrier-mosquitoes.
Dutsinma advocated constant adoption of simple protection habits by Nigerians which include maintaining clean environment, keeping the surrounding free of stagnant water, sleeping under Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets and spraying of the rooms with the World Health Organisation (WHO) - recommended insecticides like Mortein.
"Reckitt Benckiser's Mortein insecticide has been certified to be safe on everybody especially mothers and children. The brand meets the recommended standard by the WHO, and we are confident of its health safety and potency to help curb malaria", he said.
During her presentation, Brand Manager (Mortein), Mrs. Oluwatoyin Yusuf, said due to the high prevalence of malaria in Nigeria including riverine communities, it was important to intensify awareness on the promotion of cleaner and healthier environment in order to win the fight against malaria.
According to her, malaria is one of the major killer diseases in sub-Sahara Africa and Nigeria is key in the effort to rid the continent of this challenge.
" At Reckitt Benckiser, we are committed to this worthy cause, and this underpins our partnership with the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives and other professional bodies in the health sector," she said.
While urging Nigerians to be more concerned about their health and the environment, Yusuf cautioned pregnant and nursing mothers in particular against exposure to insecticides that contain toxic ingredients because of their adverse effects on vital body organs such as the lung, skin and eyes.
"Nigerians should be sure of the products they are buying. It is not enough to buy any product because you want to kill mosquitoes and cockroaches as there are a lot of insecticides in the market that are not safe for our health especially children," she added.