By Ogar Monday
A walk to commiserate the World Malaria Day has held today April 25th, in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The walk which started from the Millennium Park, through Calabar road into Mary Slessor to Zoo Garden, had in participation the Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ivara Esu, representative of the Wife of the Governor, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong, Director General Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu among others.
Speaking at the occasion organized to celebrate the day, the Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu said the State Government is on course to the complete elimination of malaria in the State, which is evident in the type of persons appointed to man the health sector.
The Deputy Governor further added that the State is open to ideas “from researchers who have broken grounds in malaria elimination research”.
Also speaking, the Wife of the Governor, Dr. Linda Ayade said that her Mediatrix foundation through its project, the Hunt Malaria Initiative is expanding its reach and vigorously spreading the message of malaria prevention in the State.
The first lady who was represented by Mrs. Rosemary Eneji said, “A day like today affords me the opportunity of contributing and helping to facilitate a reduction of the disease burden of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. As you may already know, the main mission of my non-profit organization, the Mediatrix Development Foundation (MDF), is to improve the lives of people by reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases.
“MDF through her project, Hunt Malaria Initiative, is championing the war against malaria using a very unique strategy which employs the peer group club system of advocacy and sensitization of the public. Through this club system, we have already established our presence in many Secondary Schools and in all the tertiary institutions in the state and we are advocating the use of mosquito treated nets among students.
“As the State Malaria Ambassador, I am committed to a malaria-free Cross River State. And it is possible with a change of behavior from each of us! How clean are our surroundings? Are we keeping our backyards free from stagnant water and conditions that encourage the breeding of mosquitoes?
“One of the highlights of today will be the distribution of nets. This will leave us with one important question: Will we sleep inside the nets or will we rather use them in protecting our vegetable gardens from fowls? Would we set up the nets and put them to their intended use or will we rather keep them as souvenirs in our rooms?
“The importance of using Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) cannot be over-emphasized:
• It will help reduce the rate of mortality and morbidity occurring from malaria in our clime as in other humid tropical regions of the world. Malaria causes more deaths than Diabetes, typhoid and TB put together.
• It will help save our children the loss of study hours by reducing the number of visits to the health centres. As we all know, sometimes this loss sets students back in their studies.
• In the same vein, it will reduce incidence of ill-health and increase the productivity of the worker and business person.
• It will reduce the work burden on the healthcare staff leaving them more time to deal with other cases.
• It will help households to enjoy their lives to the fullest in good health
Earlier, the DG, Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu said the theme for this year’s World Malaria day celebration “Ending Malaria for Good” is timely, as the target of all and sundry should be the total annihilation of the disease.
According to Dr. Betta the elimination of malaria is possible through “keeping our environment clean, do residual indoor and outdoor cleaning, sleep inside and not just under insecticide treated nets and pregnant women should be tested and if with the disease treated during antenatal.”
The program included singing, drama presentation, free testing and malaria treatment as well as about 20,000 treated mosquito nets.
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