Governor Ganduje’s Emergency on Malaria

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With Kano State acquiring drugs and diagnostic equipments at N59m due to 22,000 recorded deaths from malaria in the state in 2015, Odimegwu Onwumere writes that the state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje may be living up to the health promises in his inaugural speech

During his inaugural speech, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje made many promises of which he might be living up to now, but especially on the health sector of the state. He endeared the people of Kano and spectators when he said that the All Progressives Congress-led administration in the state would be much pleased in tackling health issues headlong with prevent measures.

The governor added that the measure was imperative to curtail the escalation of incidence of common killer diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, polio, malaria and dysentery and others. Routine Immunisation programme was fad in his speech. He acknowledged what he said were the contributions of Bill and Melinda Gates and Dangote Foundations in that respect. He vowed to look into the State Health Insurance Scheme but that was to be after ample consultations with stakeholders, then the policy would be investigated properly. He mentioned using groups, public, private and communities to achieve his healthcare policy in Kano State, of which the service of Environmental Health Workers (Duba Gari) was to be revived to be more functional with the dictates of the state.

The governor said that the agency was to be empowered to return to the nooks and crannies of the state by being physically present in the inspection of houses, markets, abattoirs and what had the state in that capacity. The governor clamoured that there would be a legislation to ban tobacco smoking in public places but that would be forwarded to the Kano State House of Assembly for suitable legislation.

In strengthening the people’s health and the Kano State health sector today, Governor Ganduje told journalists in an interview on September 24, 2016 that his government spent over N3 billion on subsidy accommodations, medication of pilgrims, and sponsorship of officials for this year’s pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia by Muslims from the state. That was coming after the Kano State Government on September 22, 2016, made it public that it had acquired drugs and diagnostic equipment at the value of N59 million to combat malaria in the state.

It was made public by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kabiru lbrahim Getso, who added that the materials would be shared out to the 38 hospitals in the state. Parts of the allocated materials, as according to Getso, were 6.5m treated mosquito nets, 20 microscopes for diagnosing the disease, inter alia. While this lasted, it was heartbreaking to note that the government had shown bitter expression that it was not up to the average of people who received the nets use them. Checks, however, revealed that the residents of Kano State had no excuse to abandon the use of the nets for malaria aversion having witnessed a number of 22,000 people killed by malaria in 2015. It was Getso who made this disclosure at a news conference to mark this year’s World Malaria Day.

Kano State under the watch of Governor Ganduje could be enjoying a sincere leadership, not one laced with propaganda, as Getso did not shy away to say that environmental issues made the number of deaths to be high and that remained a major challenge to the state. There was apprehension that there were 214 million malaria-related issues with 400,000 malaria-caused deaths, with the continent of Africa sharing 90 per cent of the many deaths. Perhaps, the deaths that saw Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo accounting for more than 35 per cent of malaria deaths globally, necessitated experts during the World Malaria Day 2016 (with the theme ‘End Malaria for good’), advising that mosquitoes bite should be seriously fought in Nigeria.

It was not out of place for the Kano State Government to be expending heavily in making sure that the scourge is curbed. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned that under-5 children were among the victims of malaria with the ratio of 78 per cent, mostly in sub-Sahara Africa. The resilience of Governor Ganduje in the fight against malaria in Kano, reminded one of August 29 2009, when the then Minister of Health, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, represented by a then deputy director in the federal Ministry of Health, Mrs. Chioma Amajo, at the flagging off of the second wave of the Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) campaign which held at the premises of Sheikh Mohammed Jidda Hospital in Kano, said that the state was doing well in the fight against malaria.

At the first launch of the exercise then, the state had more than two million treated nets which were distributed across 21 local government areas. It was from this programme that the choice of the ministry to take the campaign to Anambra State was formed. Conversely, Anambra in that year had a success of 1.7 million shared bad nets. It’s indispensable that the Kano State Government has had the gusto to move and hold on strong efforts at controlling malaria until it sends the disease on an errand. By 2009, there was a target to give two nets to a household.

Today, the State under Governor Ganduje has continued with the fight and sensitisation of people in the urban and rural areas in making sure that malaria was mitigated.