WHO Nigeria staff encouraged to sleep under ITNs

Mr. Gbenga Johnson, Marketing Officer, Harvestfield Industries Limited, wears hand gloves as he prepares to demonstrate the re-treatment of an Insecticide Treated

“Charity begins at home”, they say. In keeping with this saying, the World Health Organization, Nigeria Office has made available one thousand Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) to its staff, as part of the Organization’s support to the country, under its Roll Back Malaria (RBM) programme.

The Organization’s National Programme Officer for Roll Back Malaria, Dr. Bayo Fatunmbi said the gesture is to encourage staff members and their families to sleep under ITNs, and reduce the amount of man-hours lost to malaria as well as money spent on treatment. According to him, “ITNs reduce frequency of malaria by as much as 50% while severity of attack, when it does occur, is also less”.

Malaria is endemic in Nigeria, with the most vulnerable groups being pregnant women and children under five years old. The use of ITNs is one of the strategies recommended by RBM Partners for the reduction of the incidence of malaria.

To ensure that the nets are put to proper use, a re-treatment demonstration exercise was organized for some of the benefiting members of staff recently by Harvestfield Industries Limited, one of the country’s commercial partners in RBM.

The company’s Marketing Officer, Mr. Gbenga Johnson who coordinated the demonstration, stressed the importance of retreating the ITNs at intervals of six months or after three washings, since it is the insecticide that kills mosquitoes and not the nets per se.

WHO is said to be promoting long-lasting nets, which can stay for as long as four to five years or twenty washings before they are re-treated.

Mr. Johnson advised the audience to use 500 ml of water (the equivalent of the content of a standard sachet of pure water) to 10 ml of the insecticide. Treated nets, he said, should be spread under the shade and not under direct sunlight.

He assured the members of staff that toxicity of the insecticide is low and that its tolerance is high for human beings. He also advised that waste materials from the re-treatment exercise be disposed of properly.

An ITN with the re-treatment kit costs on the average, about =N= 450 for the baby cot size, =N= 750 for the large size and =N= 1,200 for the conical-shaped size.