The use of Long-Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs) has been a game-changer, especially for families like that of Mr Unguwar Ayuba, residing in Maikunkele locality, Niger State

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 8, 2024/ — Malaria remains a significant public health concern in many parts of the world, particularly in sub-Saharan African countries like Nigeria, where the disease is endemic.

For many families in Nigeria, the threat of mosquito bites poses a constant risk, impacting both their health and financial stability. However, the use of Long-Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs) has been a game-changer, especially for families like that of Mr Unguwar Ayuba, residing in Maikunkele locality, Niger State. 

Mr Ayuba and his family have been sleeping under the LLIN for two years and have only positive news to share. 

“Using mosquito nets has not only prevented my household from falling sick, but it also allowed me to save more money for other essential needs”, he says with a grin. 

Mr Ayuba recalls that before his family started sleeping under the LLIN, he spent an average of 15 thousand Naira bi-monthly on the treatment of malaria.

“Now, I ensure my family sleeps under the net every night and no longer worry about mosquito bites. It has helped me focus more on work and worry less about the children not attending school regularly due to illness. 

I appreciate those who brought the initiative to us and would plead for them to make the net available for other families”, he adds. 

Mr Ayuba was one of the beneficiaries of the LLIN distributed as part of a local health initiative by the Niger State Government and its partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2022.

The aim is to eliminate malaria in the country by 2030.  

While Nigeria continues to bear a substantial burden of malaria cases globally, significant progress has been made in the fight against the disease. According to the 2023 World Malaria Report, malaria cases in the country have plateaued since 2015, with an estimated annual caseload of about 63 million yet showing a downward trend in malaria-related deaths.

However, children under five years and pregnant women remain especially vulnerable to malaria, highlighting the continued need for preventive measures.

The distribution of LLINs is among the measures adopted by the government in its quest to eliminate malaria in the country. The Long-Lasting nets Treated with insecticides, not only repel mosquitoes but also contribute to reducing mosquito populations over time, thereby curbing the spread of malaria within communities.

In sustaining the fight against malaria in Nigeria, WHO has been playing a pivotal role by providing guidance, resources, and technical assistance to federal and state governments. Collaborating with the Nigerian government, through the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), WHO with funding from global funds facilitates coordination among stakeholders and offers technical support in guiding policy formulation and response.

Joining Nigeria to commemorate 2024 World Malaria Day, WHO Country Representative in Nigeria Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, represented by Dr Alex Chimabru, the Deputy Country Representative says the fight against malaria is not just a health issue, it is a matter of social justice and human rights. 

Reiterating WHO’s continual support to FMoH/NMEP and all other Malaria partners through the provision of technical support and guidance to implement the activities necessary to meet the National goals, Dr Mulombo states that “By accelerating our efforts to expand access to life-saving interventions, improve health systems, and address the underlying determinants of malaria transmission, we can create a more equitable world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. 

Let us change the narrative now and work together to overcome the challenges that stand in the way of malaria elimination. Through collective action, innovation, and unwavering commitment, we can achieve our shared goal of a malaria-free future for all”.

World Malaria Day, held on 25 March every year aims to raise awareness of the life-threatening disease. This year’s theme, ‘Accelerate the Fight Against Malaria for a More Equitable World’, highlights the need for better political intervention in malaria control and prevention.