‘Ready to Beat Malaria’ Campaign Launched as ‘Ambassador’ Ayade Enjoins All to Join Fight
Wife of Cross River State Governor and Malaria Ambassador for Nigeria Dr. (Mrs.) Linda Ayade has called on all Cross Riverians and Nigerians in general to join in the fight against malaria which she described as “the big time enemy and killer disease” that has claimed the lives of many Nigerians and Cross Riverians in particular. Dr. Ayade made the call during the commemoration of 2018 World Malaria Day with the theme “Ready to Beat Malaria” held at Ikot Offiong Ambai, in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State. She further described malaria as an enemy that can be fought and conquered very easily by maintaining a clean environment, with no stagnant water around houses and offices. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water; cleaning the blocked gutters regularly, getting tested to know if one has malaria before commencing treatment in order to avoid wasting money to treat the wrong disease; ensuring that the anti-malaria drug is a combination of two drugs which is the ACT medicines, as well as sleeping under Long-Lasting Insecticide treated Nets always among others. The Governor’s wife disclosed that 445,000 people die of malaria every day, globally with 207,000 people dying of the disease in Nigeria on daily basis which shows that malaria has conquered us in Nigeria more than the rest of the world hence the reason why we have to be the ones fighting the disease more than others.
“We want to tell the world that Cross River State is ready to beat Malaria” as well as become the first state in Nigeria to eliminate malaria completely. Dr. Ayade therefore said that all hands must be on deck to fight malaria and also stop its spread, while enjoining the children to begin at their tender ages to fight the disease. According to her, even if it does not kill, it can cause a lot of problems like keeping children and workers away from school and work for weeks, as the case may be and that 97% of people in Nigeria are at risk with only three percent of the population being excluded, for everyone is exposed to mosquito bite. The Malaria Ambassador emphasized on the need for one to go and do a test in order to ensure that no malaria parasite is still left in the body and also desist from self-medication. She said that people who die of malaria sometimes take drugs without knowing exactly what they are treating, hence the need to first carry out a test to prevent death, miscarriages, among others and that simple test measure that are now used. Present at the event were members of the state Executive Council and other dignitaries, royal fathers, all stakeholders in the health sector, school children and women, enjoining all to beat malaria out of Cross River State, while praying God’s blessings upon all participants.
In her remarks, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong appreciated the Governor’s wife and her entourage for coming to commemorate the world malaria day with them. According to her, it was a one-day -flag-off exercise which is also taking place in all the 196 council wards and 18 LGAs of the state and will be a continuous exercise. She maintained that prevention is better than cure, therefore all hands must be on deck to eliminate malaria completely from Cross River State. The Commissioner affirmed that she is ready to beat malaria and enjoined all to join in the fight by keeping their surroundings clean, cutting bushes around, desisting from self medication as well as carrying out test before treating malaria. She said that the State Government under the leadership of Senator (Prof.)Ben Ayade and his wife hasbeen doing a lot to eradicate malaria disease as well as working with partners in this direction, with provision of malaria commodities to help in the fight against the disease which is more common in children under five years and pregnant women. In a good will message, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Barr. (Mrs.) RoseMary Archibong expressed appreciation to all present.
She stated that Akpabuyo is fully ready to join hands with the state and beat malaria out of Cross River State, as well as support the State Government in all its programs to improve the health of Cross Riverians and that she is very proud of the health achievements of Cross River State under the leadership of the State Governor, Senator (Prof.) Ben Ayade and wife, Dr. Linda who has brought all her wealth of experience, professionalism and compassion to bear as a medical practitioner towards improving the lives of Cross Riverians, especially in the area of health among others. She added that the Ayade home care services shows the importance the state Governor has placed on the health of Cross Riverians, commending him for adding flesh to all that is being done.
Also in her welcome remarks the Director-General Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu, state that Governor Ayade has done a lot to beat malaria, adding that the state team led by the Malaria Ambassador, Dr. Linda Ayade has gone all out to ensure that they distribute over 2.5 million long lasting insecticide treated nets to all the families across the 18 LGAs of Cross River State, with over 1.5 million Cross Riverians tested free of charge as well as 7,000 people receiving free treatment for malaria in their health facilities and during community outreaches, courtesy of the wife of the Governor, through her Mediatrix Development Foundation. She maintained that these statistics cannot hold if CRS did not have a Governor that is concerned about the welfare of his people as well as a wife who is also passionate about the health needs of Cross Riverians and has done a lot to eliminate malaria in the state. She further said that it is time to get the children, adults, churches, traditional rulers among others involved to kick malaria out of CRS. Also speaking, the Director of Administration, Akpabuyo LGA, Mrs. Theresa Ezima said that Akpabuyo has tried to key into all the health programs of the state and is therefore ready to beat malaria out of CRS.
In a vote of thanks, the Director, Public Health/ Director, SMCP, CRS Malaria Elimination program, Dr. Iwara Iwara appreciated all participants especially the state Governor’s wife for being part of the event proving she is a Malaria Ambassador indeed as well as her determination to end malaria. He also thanked the members of the State Executive Council and all other dignitaries, pregnant women, children and all stakeholders in the health sector for attending which indicated their readiness to beat malaria out of the state, adding that malaria is a killer disease which is preventable and can be eliminated. Highlights of the event included; good will messages, inspection tour of malaria testing/exhibition sties and household long lasting insecticide treated net hanging by Dr. Ayade, free testing, treatment and demonstration of RBM services, cultural display and song rendition.