Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on Wednesday came up for national applause by the Global Fund as the body rated the administration as one of the best in the fight against malaria.
The commendation came as Governor AbdulRazaq personally launched the statewide distribution of integrated Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention and insecticide Treated Nets (SMC/ITN) across communities in the state.
“Today’s event again testifies to the commitment of our administration to the wellbeing of our people, especially in the fight against malaria. Our malaria elimination programmes and strategies are complementary to the multipronged approach we are using to address health care challenges in the state,” the Governor said in Ilorin at the flag off ceremony of the integrated SMC/ITN campaign for 2023.
Dwelling on the huge success recorded by the administration during the implementation of 2020 ITN campaigns, AbdulRazaq promised to continue to pay prompt attention to the health needs of the masses.
The Governor said the mosquito net is an effective tool to tackle the menace of malaria through the barrier it provides against mosquito bites, especially in the night when used as prescribed, urging Kwara residents to collect and put them to good use.
“The remarkable success of our last outing in November, 2020 was not limited to the 99% state-wide coverage and its attendant socioeconomic impacts. It also contributed to the overall improved health indices that we are celebrating and have been rewarded for in the state.
“It has been established that these interventions have helped to bring the prevalence of malaria to as low as 20%. This is far from the 27% that was recorded in 2018 before we came on board and even below the current national average of 22%.
“The success in the implementation of the SMC strategy since 2021 where we have been administering malaria preventive tablets to our under 5-year-old children has also crashed the incidence of severe malaria among this age group to as low as 6%,” he said.
He congratulated every member of the team and partners on the huge feats made, and pledged to continue to create an enabling environment to encourage and support partnership and collaborations to achieve a lot more.
The Governor had earlier on Wednesday received on a courtesy visit a delegation comprising representative of the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare and Team Lead for Global Fund Programme Management Unit for National Malaria Elimination Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, Issa Kawu; Nigeria Country Manager for Global Fund, Jean-Thomas Nouboussi; Managing Director Society for Family Health, Omokhudi Idogho; and State Coordinator for World Health Organization (WHO), Salihu Abdullahi; among other dignitaries.
They were received at the Government House alongside Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; Secretary to the State Government Prince Abdulkadir Mahe Aliyu; and State Commissioner for Health Amina Ahmed El-Imam; Commissioner for Communications Bola Olukoju; Commissioner for Business, Innovation and Technology, Yusuf Damilola; Commissioner for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs Abubakar Bata; and Commissioner for Energy Abdulganiy Abdulazeez Kola; among others.
Issa Kawu, who represented the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, said malaria, according to the 2022 World Malaria report, remains a major public health challenge in Nigeria, with the country contributing 27 % to the global malaria burden and 23% to malaria deaths globally.
He commended the Governor for his proactiveness that has resulted in the huge success recorded in the state’s response to malaria prevalence.
Kawu said malaria prevalence has dropped drastically in Kwara State under the watch of the Governor owing to his commitments to the antimalaria campaign in the state.
El-Imam, for her part, said some 2.2m nets worth $11.6m and SPAQ (malaria preventive drugs) worth $36.1m are to be distributed in this round for the benefit of the people.
She attributed the feat the government has recorded to the government’s passion and responsiveness to the welfare needs of the citizens, hoping to achieve greater results for the current SMC/ITN campaign.
The Commissioner said the Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention activities are already ongoing in 11 LGAs of the state that were selected based on rainfall pattern information for 4 consecutive months.
Jean-thomas, country manager for Global Fund, hailed the Governor’s leadership style and dynamism that he noted led to the state’s landmark achievements in the health sector.
He said AbdulRazaq’s passionate drive of the health sector accounted for the choice of Kwara as the first state to receive the new and effective LLIN and SMC/ITN nets.
“Before the end of the year, our Executive Director will organise a mission to visit Kwara. He wants to visit Kwara because of all the successes that we have been telling. It is not only the Global Fund secretariat, but the whole world is telling good stories about Kwara, on the story of Kwara regarding the successes and elimination of Malaria in Kwara.
“This (first-of-its-kind event) is to compensate your effort in mobilising your colleagues and health workforce in putting some resources in this campaign. Kwara is one of the best states playing its part by putting its counterpart resources as and when due. It has been quite exemplary,” he said.
Highlights of the event were the symbolic presentation of insecticide Treated Nets to some families in the state and the Governor demonstrating the use of the net by briefly sleeping in it.