BY BUKOLA BARDI
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by a bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito and has been a major public health challenge in the country.
The World Health Organization rates Africa high in malaria cases with 94% of patients as children under five years.
Nigeria and Ondo state in particular have a fair share of these cases of malaria too but efforts are being made to end malaria completely from the country and the state.
Experts have however maintained that the only way to end cases of malaria and also reduce child and maternal mortality caused by the disease is to prevent it through the use of insecticide treated mosquito nets.
This is why Malaria Consortium, a non-profit organization, dedicated to the control of malaria and other communicable diseases in Africa and Southeast Asia in collaboration with the National Malaria Elimination Programme of the Federal Ministry of Health is distributing 3.3million mosquito nets to residents in Ondo state.
To ensure that the nets go round all the residents, a door-to-door strategy of distribution was adopted with the help of well-trained Mobilization and Distribution Teams, MTD.
The team comprises health workers and some Adhoc staff contracted for the purpose of the assignment.
The exercise is being carried out in all the 18 local government areas of the state which fall into three Senatorial districts namely Ondo South, Ondo North and Ondo Central Senatorial District respectively.
In all the districts, the Mobilization and Distribution Teams were seen in all nooks and crannies, adorning the blue branded apron of the Malaria Consortium giving out the insecticide treated nets in compliance with the laid down rules and protocols.
When Radio Nigeria visited USO, Ehinogbe, Ogunmowola, Aruwajoye, Idashen communities, all in Owo local government area, under Ondo North Senatorial District and residents, the team moved from house to house, distributing the nets and dishing out instructions on how to use the nets for effective result.
Speaking through their representatives, Some families, as represented by Mrs Biola Oyebanjis, Alhaji Yekini Ibrahim and Racheal Stephens said there has not been issue of mosquito bite since they hanged their nets and started sleeping inside it.
The story was the same in Ile-oluji Okeigbo Local Government under the Ondo South Senatorial District where the MDTs visited people in their various homes to preach the gospel of malaria prevention and control through the use of insecticide treated mosquito nets.
Radio Nigeria visited areas such as Messaih estate, Temidire and General hospital the families of Bola Adedimeji, Sarah Cletus and Felicia Akintuwo confirmed that they had received their own nets and had started sleeping inside them.
Akure South in Ondo Central Senatorial District also witnessed the door to door distribution of the nets as seen in Ajipowo, ita-oniyan, Aponmu, Cathedral, isikan, Ayetoro, hospital Road, ijoka, oda and owode areas.
Speaking with Radio Nigeria, Two mothers, Mrs Toyin Oloniyo and Mrs Grace Adaranijo expressed the optimism that the use of the nets would reduce cases of malaria in their families as their children were always down with malaria as a result of the bushes which surround their houses.
Giving a general overview of the distribution of the insecticide treated nets, the cluster supervisor for Aponmu ward in Akure, Mrs Joke Fapounda said the exercise was smooth and the mobilization and distribution teams were received warmly in all areas visited.
The distribution of Insecticide treated nets in Ondo state by malaria consortium has come and gone.
But one thing that will keep resonating about the exercise is the optimism expressed by both residents and medical experts that the use of the net would reduce to the barest minimum cases of malaria disease in the sunshine state.