By Delafrida Ukaga
In 2019, 64-year-old Adamu, received Long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) during a net distribution in Niger state. Seeing how his entire family had benefitted tremendously from using the net without having incidence of malaria, Adamu stated that he recommends the benefits of using LLINs to the community through his actions because “health is priceless”.
Even though the net was tattered and old, Adamu cared for his LLNs by washing with “soap that is non chemically laden”, spreads it under a shed to dry and mends them when they tear. He also stated he was able to prevent mosquito bite because at night, he makes sure that the edges are not let open so mosquito cannot get in and that anytime he leaves his bed, he folds and keep it at safe place until when he is ready to sleep.
He said his family used to have malaria but enforcing the need to use the net, it reduced. So, he became passionate about using the net. He also stated that he takes other preventing measures like ensuring that no stagnant water or weeds are close to his house “I use to go round my house, if I find stagnant water, I destroy it, now we have not had issue of malaria for a long time”. In September 2022, after receiving the new LLIN net to replace the ones he had in 2019, he said “I have been standing here under the rain waiting for you to receive my own net before I go to the market, I don’t want to miss it. I am glad that I have received it, God will bless the government of Niger state and all the people that made this possible”. He will continue to care for this new net like he did for his old net. He concluded by saying “how I wish they call the mosquito net, human net because it protects us humans”.
The distribution of mosquito net was supported by Society for Family health in collaboration with Niger State Ministry of Health and roll back malaria partners with funding from Global fund. Global fund had supported the distribution in 2019.
COMMUNITY ACCEPTANCE OF MOSQUITO NET
“In those days, you will be pursuing them to collect the net. Now! they are waiting for you to come and give them the net.”
Mr Ahmed is a community health extension worker (chew) at the M.C.H 1-2-3 quarters in Minna, Niger State. According to Ahmed, malaria has been a frequent and major sickness in Minna especially during rainy season. It affects everyone but majorly women and children under five. The LLN campaign in 2019 helped reduced the high incidence of malaria. He stated that before 2019, they were high incidence of malaria especially among pregnant women. He also estimated that the morbidity rate of malaria was 60% but as of 2022, it has reduced to 40%. He believed that the intervention by providing the LLIN helped achieve it. The LLIN campaign was supported by Society for Family health in collaboration with Niger State Ministry of Health and roll back malaria partners with funding from Global fund.
On effective use of the net, Mr Ahmed stated “Most of them are ignorant and they don’t know how to use the net while some are always complaining about the net and don’t want to sleep under it”. To ensure frequent and proper use of net, “We use to go house to house, talk to them on how to sleep under the net and why they should use it” and this has generated a lot of positive outcomes
He also stated that the acceptance of the mosquito net in the community have also improved “In those days, you will be pursuing them to collect the net and they will be running away, now, they are waiting for you to come and give them the net”. “We have where we want to work tomorrow, but people are coming and begging and saying, give us our net” he concluded.
He also stated that one of the most important factors that increase prevalence of mosquito is lack of personal hygiene. “If you look around, you will see grasses all around and stagnant water, some other persons leave dirt, unwashed plates around their house and this acts as a breeding ground for mosquitoes”.
Ahmed said that it is his hope that the government of Niger state will continue and sustain the good work that has been started by the partners. He further appreciates Society for Family health and all partners for ensuring that every household benefits from the campaign.