Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Friday flagged off a statewide campaign to curtail malaria, calling it one of the first fruits of his early interventions in the health sector where he recently paid N232 million counterpart funds.
The campaign, named Malaria-Free-Kwara, qualifies Kwarans to access free malaria treatments in the health centres near them in the state.
It is part of the Roll-Back-Malaria Partnership, a donor-funded programme which Kwara has now keyed into after AbdulRazaq paid the required counterpart funds.
“One of the interventions we have made in the health sector was to pay N82 million (out of the total N232million) counterpart funds to show commitment to be involved in the global anti-malaria campaign led by the Roll-Back-Malaria Partnership, a donors-driven initiative to stamp out the menace of malaria in the world, especially in our country Nigeria,” he said at the official launch of the Malaria-Free-Kwara in Ilorin, the state capital.
“The Malaria-Free-Kwara we are launching this morning is a product of that timely intervention, which is to complement the humanitarian efforts of the Roll-Back-Malaria Partnership. No serious government, especially in Nigeria, should trivialise the global campaign against malaria. In 2018 alone, Nigeria recorded 100 million malaria cases with at least 300,000 deaths resulting from such cases. Such shameful data contributed to our recurring low rating in global development indices.”
AbdulRazaq, who is currently in the entourage of President Muhammadu Buhari to Japan, was represented at the event by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Saba Jibril.
“As I flag off the Malaria-Free Kwara campaign for year 2019, I request all Kwarans and caregivers in the state to visit the nearest health facility to them to access this service in the interest of everyone and overall well-being of our state,” he said.
Lamenting that the anti-malaria campaign had been purely donor-driven since 2008 when it started, AbdulRazaq said the payment of the counterpart funds had qualified Kwara for such future interventions by donors in the global campaign against the deadly disease.
“I assure you that our administration will continue to do everything possible to reposition the health sector in line with our campaign promises of making sure that quality health care services are available and obtainable by all and sundry so as to brighten our chances of achieving Universal Health Coverage,” he stated.
“It is our belief that with the planned sustainability of this project, Kwara State will witness a significant decline in malaria cases, which would in turn boost our standing in developmental ratings. I urge our religious and traditional leaders to support this project by giving their consent and creating awareness on the importance of these campaigns and its far-reaching effects on improving the health indices of the state. Let me make it clear that these interventions for eliminating malaria is “FREE FOR ALL”.
No fewer than 2,500 patients, meanwhile, have benefitted from a three-day Intensive Medical Intervention programme, organised by the US-based Kwara State Association of Nigerians (KSANG) and Sakinah Medical Outreach in conjunction with the Kwara State Government.
The free healthcare services, which cut across the three senatorial districts of the state, came up between 28th and 30th August at three different locations — Ajase Ipo, Tsaragi and Okelele primary healthcare centres.
KSANG President Dr. Yusuf Adanlawo said the gesture was aimed at complementing the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-government’s good intention to respond to the medical needs of Kwarans.
“Shortly after the elections, the governor came to US and we listened to his passionate agenda about improving the people’s access to healthcare services. We assured him of doing whatever we can to support his government. That is why we raised fund within ourselves and put up this programme,” Adelanwo said in Ilorin at one of the outreach centres.
He expressed satisfaction about the turn-out of patients suffering from different ailments such as malaria, diabetes, hypertension, cataract and sickle cell in all the selected locations, adding that the project gulped about N20 million for medications only while the government provided the facilities to carry out the surgical aspect and other logistics.
The surgical operation for at least 150 patients would be carried out at the General Hospital, Ilorin, and Sobi Specialist Hospital in the next two weeks’ time, Adelanwo said.
He praised the government for appointing one of them, Professor Wale Suleiman, as Special Adviser on Health Matters.
Adelanwo also acknowledged the government’s sincere commitment to engendering a healthy citizenry.
Alhaja Taiye Ahmed, a beneficiary of the outreach who checked her blood pressure, gave government a pass mark for providing such a platform, lamenting that a lot of patients had died because of certain ailments that could have been treated if they enjoyed timely medical care.