8 February 2013

Nigeria: Kwankwaso - Why I Okayed World Bank's U.S.$27 Million Malaria Programme

Kano State Governor, Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, Thursday explained why government decided to continue with the Malaria Control Programme (MCP) it inherited from the previous administration, stating that the scourge remains a major health challenge in the state, accounting for an estimated 30 per cent child mortality and 11 per cent maternal mortality.

The governor also disclosed that the disease, due to its grave consequences, impacted negatively on the local and national economy, thereby causing low productivity and economic loss of billions of Naira annually.

Speaking during the occasion at the Government House, Kano, Kwankwaso said the state government decided to opt out of the loan without discarding the programme because it had enough resources to handle the project alone.

The inauguration of the programme is coming barely few months after the governor had directed the state Ministry of Health to exit from a $27 million loan, obtained from the World Bank for a similar project by the previous administration.

Speaking at the occasion at the Government House, Kano, Kwankwaso said the government decided to continue the programme because malaria remains a major health challenge in the state, accounting for an estimated 30 per cent child mortality and 11 per cent maternal mortality.

The disease, according to him, impacts negatively on the local and national economy by causing low productivity, absenteeism from school and work, resulting into economic loss of billions of Naira annually.

"Because of the danger of Malaria, we are putting in place our own Malaria Control Programme without any foreign loan. A plan of action has been drafted and we welcome support from any well- meaning organisation," the governor stated.

He revealed that the state government was working closely with metropolitan local government councils in the state to address the scourge of the disease, while the state refuse agency, REMASAB hadbeen provided with adequate funds to enable it discharge its responsibility of keeping the environment clean and mosquito free.

The governor told the gathering that the state government recently awarded contract for the channelisation of Jakara River, which ran through about five local government areas in the state, as part of deliberate strategies to address the menace of malaria, pointing out that a road would be constructed over the channel to improve transportation system.

Kwankwaso used the occasion to launch the distribution of medical equipments and consumables worth millions of Naira, to hospitals in the state, obtained for free from Medshare, a US based NGO, during a visit to their headquarters last year.

He also inaugurated two trucks for the state Drugs and Medical Consumables Supplies Agency.

The governor, however, appealed to residents to ensure that refuse was disposed the way it should be done to prevent malaria and other killer diseases, saying it was also necessary for them to make good use of health facilities and patronage of its reintroduced "Lafiya Jari" pharmacies.

In his remarks, the Minister of Health, represented by Professor Abdusssalam Nasidi, commended the state government for championing the anti-malaria campaign, stating that if it succeeds in the state, it would be a success across the whole country.

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