FLAG-OFF OF MALARIA-FREE KWARA

Date: 2008-09-22
KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, DR ABUBAKAR BUKOLA SARAKI, THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF KWARA STATE AT THE FLAGGING-OFF OF MALARIA-FREE KWARA AT THE BANQUET HALL OF GOVERNMENT HOUSE, ILORIN ON MONDAY, 22ND SEPTEMBER, 2008.


Courtesies,


I welcome you all to this important occasion of the formal flag-off ceremony of the implementation of the Malaria-Free Kwara Programme. I am particularly delighted that the beneficiaries of the programme in this initial phase are members of the vulnerable group, the pregnant women and children under five years of age.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the consideration of Malaria for this programme is predicated on the nauseating health statistics of the disease and its impact on the socio-economic status of the country as a whole. For instance, infant mortality rate in Kwara State as at today stands at 103/1000 against 50/1000 projected in the State policy of KWASEEDS with Under 5 mortality rate at 185/1000 against 50/1000.

Malaria alone accounts for well over 60% of hospital attendance by patients in the State. It is also responsible for one (1) out of every ten (10) deaths during pregnancy and three (3) out of every ten (10) deaths of Under 5 mortality. These indicators are worrisome since they portray negative impacts on the productive and population growth of the economy with much as 25% loss of household earnings and 6% in the Gross Domestic Product.

Worried by this ugly development, the State Government is up in arms to reduce the incidence of 80% by the year 2011. This will be achieved through a synergistic approach of preventive and curative measures. This involves free distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Bed Nets (LLITN) to pregnant women and under 5 children, distribution of anti-malaria drugs to the target group at premeditated period and serious campaign on control of vector, among others.

Distinguished audience, ladies and gentlemen, let me use this forum to commend the sixteen (16) Local Government Councils for their collaboration in providing 40% of the cost of drugs purchased under this programme. The Kwara State Government is responsible for the supply of all the insecticide treated nets and 60% of the cost of supply of drugs. In the spirit of 8th Millennium Development Goals, a strong partnership exists between Kwara State Government and International Donor Agencies such as USAID, EU-Prime, UNICEF, WHO, Yakubu Gowon Centre and Society for Family Health, among others. I wish to, on behalf of the State Government, thank the donor agencies and the private sector most especially Elbee Pharmacy and First Inland Bank Plc for your individual contributions to the programme.

It is my pleasure, however, to inform you that the prevailing health reform agenda embarked upon by our administration has an in-built sustainability mechanism, such that we will never go back to the precarious situation in which our health facilities were, prior to 2003. The continuation of this health reform agenda is the topical disease approach to further improve health situation of Kwarans. It should be noted that this administration’s strong interest in “Clean and Green” is mooted by its impact on the health of the citizens apart from its aesthetic value. Mosquito which is a vector of the malaria parasite thrives best in dirty environment. It is also emphatic that most communicable diseases thrive well in unclean environment. Thus, healthy living and environmental sanitation are positively correlated.

I therefore implore all pregnant women and parents with under-5 children to avail themselves of the opportunity of free malaria treatment which is available in all the State Government Hospitals and Primary Health Centres. Before I conclude this address, I would like to thank the Special Guest of Honour, Her Excellency, Robin Renee Sanders, the U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Traditional Rulers, distinguished stakeholders and everybody present here to witness the flag-off ceremony of this programme.

With these few remarks, ladies and gentlemen, I now have the honour and pleasure to officially flag-off the malaria-free Kwara programme to the glory of God and the benefit of all the beneficiaries to combat the spread of malaria throughout the State.

Thank you all and God bless.

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