.Africa News Kenya Focus 

April 19 - 25, 2013


 Coastweek   Kenya

 HOME - click this banner to return to http://www.coastweek.com 






Ministry of Health making gains
against malaria scourge

correct malaria diagnosis is a key component
of the overall policy to manage the disease

Ronald Njoroge and Peter Mutai

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya has managed to reduce malaria related death and illness by more than 50 percent in the past decade, a government official said on Thursday.

Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Mark Bor told journalists in Nairobi that implementation of evidence based interventions has resulted in a declining disease burden.

“Parasite prevalence in most parts of the country has come down to less than five percent except in regions in western Kenya where it is over 30 percent,” Bor said ahead of the World Malaria Day which will be observed on April 25.

This will be Kenya’s sixth commemoration of the day having marked the occasion previously as Africa Malaria Day.

He added that correct malaria diagnosis is a key component of the overall policy to manage the disease.

“The strategy ensures that all those with malaria symptoms are tested and only those found to be positive from the tests are treated with effective medicines,” he said.

“The ministry has therefore scaled up treatment by distributing over 9.4 million rapid diagnostic test kits,” the ministry official said.

In order to build on the gains achieved, the PS noted, that the government will also enhance the monitoring of malaria transmission in all areas.

Bor added that Indoor Residual Spraying has been carried out in the high endemic areas surrounding Lake Victoria resulting in the protection of at least two million people.

He said that Kenya will continue to prioritize malaria control due to it’s on the health and well-being of Kenyans.

World Health Organization Kenya Malaria Advisor Dr Aka Kalu said that Kenya has achieved extraordinary progress against the disease as a result of comprehensive policy.

“Through an effective preparedness and response plan, availability of drugs have been positioned so as to facilitate timely action against any outbreak,” he said.

According to the WHO official, Uganda leads the East Africa community in malaria disease prevalence.

Ministry of Health, Head of Division of Malaria Control Dr David Soti said that between 2011 and 2012, the government distributed about 11 million mosquito nets to households in the endemic and epidemic prone areas under the universal coverage program resulting in 22 million people being protected from malaria.

“An additional 6.9 million nets have been distributed under the last four years to children under the age of one and pregnant women through the maternal clinics,” Soti said.

He noted that the target is by 2014 a further six million bed nets will be distributed at the household level in order to compliment the routine system.

Kenya Non Governmental Organization (NGO) Alliance against Malaria Advocacy Manager Ted Ahono called for increased domestic funding in order to combat malaria.

United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF Kenya Representative Marcel Kanyankore said that estimates indicate that Kenya loses 170 million working days to malaria annually.

He noted that primary school students lose about 11 percent of school days per year due to the disease.

“In order to defeat the parasite, Kenya should also increase and sustain the level of funding for malaria control,” the UNICEF official said.

UKAID Acting Head Dr Joanne Abbot said that its health program in Kenya has set aside over 68.4 million U.S. dollars between 2009 and 2015.

“We will continue to work closely with the Kenya in order to scale effective interventions aimed at minimizing malaria transmission,” Abbot said.

According to the ministry of health, malaria is the leading cause of death among infants and children as it is responsible for 34,000 deaths in children under the age of five.

Ministry of Health, Head of Department of Disease Control Dr Willis Akhwale said that a key challenge impending elimination of the malaria parasite is the rising resistance to pyrethrum based insecticides.

“The government will therefore begin spraying of the more expensive carbamates based insecticides after September 2013,” he said.

Akhwale noted that expectant mothers also bear the burden of malaria resulting in high maternal mortality rates and poor birth outcomes.

“The disease also accounts for 30 percent of all outpatient consultations and 19 percent of all hospital admissions,” he said.


Remember: you read it first at coastweek.com !





Copyright © '96, '97, '98, '99, '00, '01, '02, '03, '04, '05, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12.
Coastweek Newspapers Ltd.  All rights reserved.

Comments and questions: