Govt takes Malaria campaign to households

Joy Wanja | 08 Apr 2010
Daily Nation
The government will next week roll out an indoor residual spraying campaign in Rift Valley and Nyanza provinces to prevent a probable malaria outbreak.

Public Health department of disease prevention and control head, Dr Willis Akhwale said over one million households in 33 epidemic prone districts will be targeted during the exercise.

"The aim is to avert malaria epidemics following the current onset of long rains," said Dr Akhwale.

Malaria prevalence in children under five years in the two provinces remains as high as 25 per cent, Dr Akhwale added.

Rachuonyo, Migori and Nyando districts will also be sprayed as they border malaria-prone areas.

First-line treatment malaria drugs will also be available at retail outlets from June in a bid to address the current disease burden in the country.

Dr Akhwale pointed out that Kenya is a beneficiary of a subsidy under the 'Affordable medicines for malaria initiative.'

"This initiative which also includes the private sector will see the cost of malaria first line medicines reduced from the current Sh500 to about Sh30," he said.

According to the department head, currently over 12 million treatment doses of ACT's (Artemesinin Based Combination Therapies) are being distributed in all public health facilities countrywide.

Kenya hopes to eliminate malaria by 2017. The disease has been on the decline in the country in recent years and scientists say they are optimistic that it can be eliminated by then.

Dr Ayub Manya, a Ministry of Public Health official, urged the public to take precautionary measures to keep the killer disease at bay.

"Ensure all family members sleep under a Long Lasting Insecticide treated bed net, LLINS, every night," he advised.

The Public Health ministry provides LLINS to pregnant women and children less than one year old.

Dr Akhwale said the ministry hopes to achieve a nationwide coverage of at least two LLINS per household.