Abuja, Nigeria – On December 14, the U.S. Government through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) donated 2.9 million bed nets for distribution in Sokoto State. The bed nets, valued at $8.1 million will be distributed in all 23 local government areas of the State. The U.S. Government also provided an additional $1.5 million for logistics, including transportation of the bed nets, community mobilization, and training of workers to distribute the bed nets. These nets and support for the distribution are a gift from the American People to the People of Sokoto State.
Increasing access to health services – especially for the poor – is a sound and sustainable investment that can command great economic returns. This bed net distribution is significant in order to scale up access to malaria prevention within every household in Sokoto State. Malaria is one of the leading killers of children and a leading cause of illnesses in Nigeria, particularly during the rainy season when the mosquito population increases.
Sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net every night is the best way to prevent malaria. Bed nets put a vital barrier between people and the mosquitoes that carry malaria, particularly during the hours from dusk to dawn. Nightly use of insecticide treated bed nets prevents infections, which in turn prevents the spread of malaria.
Since 2011, the U.S. Government has spent more than $420 million to control malaria in Nigeria. Over 50 percent of U.S. Government funding for malaria goes into procuring and distributing insecticide treated bed nets, malaria diagnostic kits, and malaria medicines. In addition, the U.S. Government 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.
Eliminating malaria in Sokoto State and throughout Nigeria as a whole is possible if we all work together.