Malaria prevention paying off, says Kenya govt

The government has committed to the fight against malaria promising to increase surveillance in disease prone areas, boost the use of insecticide treated nets (ITN) and indoor residual sprays which it said has shown reduction in malaria deaths.

According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation Dr Mark Bor, 22 million people were protected from malaria in endemic and epidemics zones last year as a result of the use of ITNs while indoor residual spray protected 2 million people annually in four counties in Nyanza and Western.

“Parasite prevalence in most parts of the country has gone down to less than 5 per cent, except for counties around the Lake Basin,” said Dr Bor. “The government will continue to support this distribution system as it enhances the overall coverage with preventive measures.”

Dr Bor also lauded the partnerships from development partners, private sectors and civil society for their financial and expertise assistance.

UKaid, USaid, Unicef, Reckitt Benckiser (under their indoor residual spray brand- Mortein Doom) and Global fund are among partners who have been upfront in the fight against malaria and continue to extend their support.

USaid has spent a total of Sh8.5 billion ($100 million) on malaria control in Kenya. The aid agency is targeting 30 per cent malaria decrease in 19 countries by 2015.

According to Loise Robinson senior health advisor DFID (Department for International Development), UK government will spend Sh5.7 billion (£45 million) on malaria over the coming years. DFID last year distributed 21 million nets.

According to the Public Health ministry there has also been reduction in malaria specific illness and deaths in young children by 44 and 52 per cent.

“At Reckitt Benckiser, we are steadfast in driving educative initiatives through our collaboration in scaling up campaigns geared towards encouraging the use of ITN and Indoor Residual Sprays (IRS) such as our flagship brand Mortein DOOM to curb malaria,” said Richard Pereira, Reckitt Benkiser Country Manager.

Despite the milestone attained with the use of integrated vector management solutions- ITN and IRS, stakeholders admit they are facing a number of challenges.

Among the hurdles is adoption of costly carbamates due to high resistance of synthetic pyrethrine and implementation of the three tier treatment on patients- Test-treat-track (T3) by private sector. Public facilities are successfully implementing the T3.

The government will on Thursday next week mark World Malaria day in Kericho.