Anambra State's free insecticide-treated net (ITN) recipients have been warned by civil society organisations (CSOs) not to use the nets for fishing or preserving food because they are intended to prevent mosquito bites.
At a ceremony to start distributing 3.8 million ITNs in the state, Chris Azor, the chair of the Anambra Civil Society Network (ACSONET), delivered the advise.
In all 21 of the state's Local Government Areas (LGAs), the Anambra State Government is managing the initiative in collaboration with the Malaria Consortium.
Depending on the size of the family, Azor predicted that each household will receive somewhere between one and four mosquito nets.
Also speaking, Igwe Gibson Nwosu who received the team for distributing the nets in his palace on Saturday in Awka commended the donor and government for facilitating the process.
Nwosu, however, enjoined the beneficiaries to make good use of the nets as regular usage of the nets had been proven to be effective in checking mortality scourge.
During a recent media engagement, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Afam Obidike, said it was necessary for the people to be well informed about the distribution.
“This exercise is in collaboration with the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Malaria Consortium and with support from GiveWell Open Philanthropic Funding.
“The 2022 Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) mass distribution, which commenced on August 7, is free for every household across the state.
“The objective of the ITN mass campaign is to ensure that for every 2 persons gets one bed-net to sleep inside and the distribution will be done on door-to-door bases across all the 21 LGAs of the State,” Obidike said.
According to him, the newly collected nets must be aired under a shade for 24hours before hanging and sleeping inside.
“When the nets are dirty, wash them with mild soap and stitch with thread and needle if torn,” he said.
The commissioner, while appealing to the residents to cooperate with the distributors, urged the media and others to help in enlightening the public on the importance of the exercise.
Caroline Okoye, Jude Nnazuo and Felix Nwokedi all worked as town announcers in Awka Ward 2 and Achara Ward 1 in Awka South and Awka North LGAs.
According to them, their role was to announce to the residents on the way the nets are to be used and the need for them to adhere to the instructions strictly.
“We used either megaphone or bell to draw the attention of the residents and announce to them to open their gates and collect the free ITN nets.
“We equally informed them to regularly sleep inside the nets that it is a proven means of eliminating the mosquitoes’ attacks, which is the cause of malaria,” Ms Okoye said.
Bukola Oyetomi and Nnenaya Uwalaka-Obasi, both coordinators for the campaign in Awka North and Awka South LGAs, said the exercise was seamless in their areas.
“The people were excited to have the nets and many of them were very hospitable to our field workers,” Uwalaka-Obasi said.
Oyetomi praised the conduct of most community leaders in Isuaniocha, Mgbaku, Amanuke, Achara, Ebenebe and Amansea for their cooperation in ensuring that their subjects were orderly while the exercise lasted.