Health & Fitness

Campaign to cut malaria infections and deaths kicks off in Homa Bay


Households in Homa Bay will benefit from an indoor residual spraying campaign targeted at reducing malaria infections and deaths, Governor Cyprian Awiti has said.

Malaria prevalence  in the county stands at about 26 per cent, making it one of the high malaria zones alongside include Kilifi, Mombasa, Lamu, Taita Taveta, Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, Vihiga, Kakamega and Bungoma.

The campaign will be conducted by the county government in partnership with the Global Fund and the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).

The  initiative is investing Sh400 million in the programme while the county will contribute Sh12 million in human resource.

Mr Awiti said the programme  is aimed at reducing malaria deaths and substantially decreasing malaria prevalence as part of a long-term goal of eliminating the disease.

IRS is the application of long-acting chemical insecticides on the walls and roofs of all houses in order to kill the adult vector mosquitoes that land and rest on these surfaces.

The primary effects of IRS towards curtailing malaria transmission are to reduce the lifespan of vector mosquitoes so that they can no longer transmit malaria parasites from one person to another. It also aimed at reducing the density of the vector mosquitoes.

Mr Bradley Longman, chief of party PMI  told the team that they were going to work with all endemic counties to ensure that malaria is defeated. “We have started with Homa Bay and Migori but we are spreading in all counties in Western, Nyanza and Coastal regions,” he said.

According to World Health Organisation, indoor residual spraying (IRS) is one of the primary vector control interventions for reducing and interrupting malaria transmission.

The campaign that started on Monday will take 36 days and end on March 24. It will see all houses and structures sprayed in order to cut malaria transmission.

“Homa Bay County falls within Malaria endemic zone where the transmission of malaria occurs throughout the year. This implies that the county experiences a high burden of malaria disease throughout the year,” Mr Awiti said.

The burden according to statistics is high among pregnant mothers and children under five years.

Malaria accounts for 27 per cent of all outpatient consultations and six per cent of hospital admissions in the county.

In 2017, there were 110, 866 cases of confirmed malaria among children under five with 259, 403 cases among pregnant mother with others treated several times in the year in the county.

During the same period, a total of 400 admissions and 91 deaths due to malaria were reported. “This is a clear indication that we need to work extra hard to ensure that we curb malaria prevalence,” said  Mr Awiti.