By Lucy Ackanyon
Wife of Benue State Governor, Dr Eunice Ortom was Friday installed as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Net Use ambassador for Benue State for the second time in four years.
Dr Ortom was first installed as the net use ambassador in 2016 by both the national and state Malaria Elimination Programmes in collaboration with U.S Presidents Malaria Initiative (PMI) and other Roll Back Malaria partners in Nigeria, to promote the practice of net use among people of Benue State.
The investiture this year took place during the official flag-off of the 2020 Benue Net distribution campaign, at the New Banquet Hall of the Benue People’s House, Makurdi.
In her acceptance speech after the investiture, Dr Ortom said, “I have fully committed myself for this role and with support from the state and fed govt and our ever supportive development partners in the state, I look forward to a Benue State that is free of malaria and its burden.”
She added, “I have a dream that one day we will celebrate a World Malaria free Day.”
While emphasizing the importance of the net to reduce illness and death, especially among children and pregnant women, the wife of the governor called of people of the state to ensure to collect and use the nets during the distribution.
“Beyond ownership of insecticide, there is a need for people to adopt and practice a correct and consistent use of the nets by sleeping inside the net every night to protect against mosquito bites,” she emphasized.
The First Lady of Benue State, further cautioned people against using the nets donated for fishing, and other misuses adding that, “there is a need for people to cultivate a culture of caring for the nets so that it can protect then for three years before a replacement is due.”
A drastic rise in the rate of people sleeping inside LLIN has been noticed in Benue State since 2016, according to Director of Public Health, Benue State Ministry of Health, Dr Jonathan Kur.
“In the past years the practice of sleeping in the net was not common here but since 2016, more and more people have started sleeping in the nets and that has helped to bring down malaria prevalence,” Dr Kur told The Voice.