The Federal Government says it has distributed 57.7 million insecticide treated bed nets between 2009 and 2013 as part of efforts to combat Malaria in the country.

The Head, Demand Creation Work-Stream, National Malaria Control Programme, Mr Ene Eyo, said this at an interactive session with newsmen on Thursday in Sokoto.

Eyo spoke on the forthcoming campaign on bed net replacement, distribution and building a net use culture.

He said the distribution of the bed nets was part of the broad of measures taken by government to mitigate the spread and impact of malaria nationwide.

Eyo said that additional 2.5 million nets would be distributed in the 23 local government areas of Sokoto State under the replacement campaign.

“The exercise is planned for 16 States of the federation in 2013, but will take place in Sokoto between Dec. 17 and Dec. 21.

“The rest of the fifteen states, spread across Nigeria, will follow suit in 2015. “Eyo said that the media was crucial in ensuring the success of the exercise.

“The media should give out the right and accurate knowledge; encourage values, attitudes, as well as beliefs that will promote the exercise.

“Nigeria contributes a quarter of malaria burden in Africa, with 90 per cent of its population at risk of stable malaria,” he said.

Eyo, however, said that despite its leading role in health problems, malaria was largely under-reported by the media.

According to him, the country spends over N480 billion yearly in the prevention and treatment of malaria, adding that malaria burden in the country also contributes to massive loss of work-man hours.

Eyo also said that the prevalence of malaria also had enormous economic and social implications for the nation.

“Malaria reduces one per cent of Nigeria’s annual GDP and it takes 46 per cent of all curative health costs, responsible for 110 million clinically diagnosed cases.

“Fifty per cent of the country’s population suffers from at least one episode of malaria per year.”

Mr Aminu Ibrahim, the Programme Manager, Sokoto State Malaria Control Programme, assured that measures had been taken to ensure the success of the anti-malaria campaign in the state.

 “There will be an effective distribution of the insecticides treated nets to the targeted households across the state,” he said.

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