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81 non-profit organization groups
in new anti-malaria campaign

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A group of 81 non-profit, private and public sector organizations in Kenya have launched an anti- malaria campaign that will prevent deaths of 16,000 children every year in the next five years.

The Kenya NGOs Alliance Against Malaria (KeNAAM) plans to spend 53 million U.S. dollars raised from the private and public sectors in next five years for anti-malaria campaign and providing necessary care for the vulnerable children under five years.

“Preventing 16,000 children from dying every year may look like a small number. But the pain of losing one child is beyond the statistics,” said the Chief Executive of KeNAAM CEO Edward Mwangi.

“These numbers may not tell a story, but it is the pain of a mother losing a child or a child losing a mother that tells the story,” he said during the launch of the campaign in Nairobi on Thursday evening.

Malaria is the biggest killer disease in Kenya, according to the Ministry of Health Statistics. It kills more people than AIDS every year.

But deaths are more pronounced in children under the age of five, with malaria accounting for 25 percent of those deaths.

Other diseases and conditions like diarrhea, pneumonia, lack of immunization, and low access to trained birth attendants kill more children in Kenya, data from the Ministry of Health showed.

The new campaign is multi-pronged in the sense that it will also help finance elimination of other disease and conditions that also affect children under the age of five years.

The plan is to be implemented over the next five years in 24 counties with the highest risk of malaria infections, mainly in Western, Nyanza and Coast regions.

It will be implemented under the KeNAAM five year strategic plan for 2013-2017.   

The strategic plan will be implemented under an initiative known as Malaria ++ (plus plus), an integrated concept that will seek to prevent additional childhood ailments to ensure a holistic approach to maternal and newborn health.

In addition to funding anti malaria activities, the fund will also be used to increase access to immunization, address diarrhea management in children up to 59 months, increase the number of birth attendants and increase utilization of ante-natal services.

“The plan seeks to ensure that there are zero deaths from malaria as well as other childhood diseases,” said Mwangi.

“The strategy focuses on creating demand for health services and also creating a conducive policy environment for investing in malaria and other health programs,” he added.

Mwangi said KeNAAM wants to encourage public private partnerships in malaria investments in line with the global call ‘Invest in the future. Defeat malaria,’ the theme of global anti- malarial campaign in the next five years from 2013.

He said malaria in Kenya is underfunded by 40 percent, which interferes with the implementation of some critical projects.

Mwangi said the aim of the strategy is to raise funds for malaria and also to leverage on these resources to target maternal and infant health.

“It beats logic to stop children dying malaria and they end up succumbing to other ailments,” observed Mwangi.

He said KeNAAM aims to complement government efforts by working with partners to bridge the funding gap.

To raise funds and increase awareness on malaria and its impact to national development, KeNAAM has partnered with the Grandmothers Against Malaria Initiative (GAMI) to hold a National Malaria Walk in October this year.

The walk which is scheduled to take place on Oct. 5 will seek to raise funds to buy and distribute insecticide treated nets and also develop information, education communication materials to inform the public on prevention, management and treatment of malaria.

KeNAAM has over the last 10 years been actively engaged in the fight against malaria and it hopes to use its vast advocacy skills to also influence maternal and newborn related complications.

The Kenya Malaria Indicator Survey 2010 showed that malaria is the leading cause of deaths in Kenya. About 25 million Kenyans are at risk of malaria.

Malaria accounts for 30 to 50 percent of all outpatient attendance and 20 percent of all admissions to health facilities.

The Ministry of Health estimates that 170 million working days are lost to the disease each year and that the disease causes more than 25 percent of deaths in children under five years.

The most vulnerable group to malaria infections are pregnant women and children under 5 years of age.

In collaboration with partners, the government has developed the 10-year Kenyan National Malaria Strategy (KNMS) 2009-2017 whose goal is to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with malaria by 30 percent in 2009-2017.



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