Gusau – On August 20, 2020, the U.S. government, through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), donated 3.1 million bed nets in Nigeria’s Zamfara State as part of a national campaign to provide enough nets for every Nigerian to be protected from the deadly disease every night.
The PMI program in Nigeria is jointly implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in coordination with the Government of Nigeria. The life-saving nets will go to every local government area in Zamfara state. The bed net distribution is a critical component of the ongoing effort to end malaria in Nigeria, which results in more than 90,000 deaths per year.
“Malaria is the leading killer of children in Nigeria and brings illness and loss of productivity to too many families,” Dr. Jose Tchofa, USAID’s Senior Malaria Advisor, said at the handover ceremony. “If we all work together to protect ourselves from being bitten by sleeping under a bed net every night, we can control malaria for the good health of everyone in Zamfara and across Nigeria.”
In addition to the nets, PMI also provided funding for logistics, including transportation and community mobilization carried out in partnership with the Zamfara state government, which led the planning, coordination, and distribution effort. The total value of the contribution is near $12 million (₦ 4.6 billion).
This activity will benefit all five million residents of Zamfara, providing at a minimum one net for every two people within each household, Tchofa said. Sleeping under the nets puts a vital barrier between people and malarial mosquitoes, most importantly from dusk to dawn, and is one of the best ways to prevent malaria.
“Malaria infection still poses a great threat to the social and economic well-being of the population of Zamfara State,” Deputy Governor Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, representing Governor Muhammad Bello, said at the ceremony. “We must therefore do everything possible to safeguard our people, particularly the vulnerable group of women and children with the help of stakeholders [including] the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative.”
Since 2011, PMI has procured more than 60 million insecticide-treated nets as part of a $635 million overall contribution to malaria control in Nigeria. PMI also supports advocacy and mobilization to encourage members of the community to sleep under the bed nets every night, and trains health workers to test for malaria before treatment.