Kano, 21 November, 2019 - Every time one of Asabe Mohammed's children fell ill with malaria, she had to scramble to find a way to pay for medication to treat the disease.
"My children and I usually sleep outside with no form of protection and that has exposed all my children to malaria-carrying mosquitoes," explains Asabe, who lives in Gwale Local Government Area (LGA) in Kano State. "I had to sacrifice their school fees to buy medicine."
Recently, however, Asabe's family received nets treated with insecticide - called Long-Lasting Insecticide-Treated Nets, or LLINs - to keep them safe from the harmful insects especially mosquitoes
"These nets will go a long way in protecting us from mosquito bites and malaria," Asabe says. "We can now sleep anywhere inside the net, even outside when it's hot without fear of contracting malaria."
A total of 8.4 million nets were distributed to every household in all of Kano's 44 LGAs. These were procured with financing from the Global Fund and distributed by the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) in collaboration with the Kano State government.
Health: a top priority
Speaking during the LLIN flag-off ceremony on 05 October 2019, the Secretary to the Kano State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, thanked the Federal Ministry of Health, the Global Fund, World Health Organization (WHO), Catholic Relief Services and other development partners for supporting the state in its efforts to eradicate malaria.
"Citizenry should make the best use of the nets to improve on the health indices of the state and Nigeria at large," he said. "Health is top of our administration's agenda and we will make sure the State Ministry of Health sensitizes the populace and ensures that the uptake of the LLINs (post-campaign) yields the desired result."
Nigeria's high burden of malaria
Nigeria has the highest burden of malaria globally, accounting for about a quarter of all cases. The use of LLINs is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent the disease.
Nigeria has registered a progressive decline in the burden of malaria from 42% in 2010 to 23% in 2018, according to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2018. The prevalence in Kano State is 32.4%, still above the national average.
WHO reported in the 2018 edition of the World Malaria Report revealed that progress in fight against malaria has stalled, therefore insists that to get back on track, countries must accelerate efforts to control and eliminate the disease.
In Kano State, WHO Nigeria played a key role in supporting the net distribution campaign notably, quality control, in-process monitoring and deployment of monitors to assess if people used their nets and looked after them properly.
Lynda Ozor; Email: ozorl [at] who.int; Tel: +234 803 402 0832