Kenya’s Fight Against Malaria

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Malaria is the top eighth killer in Kenya contributing to 3% deaths.
Every region in the country has its own process of intervention when it comes to dealing with Malaria. This is because transmission rates are different across the country with prevalence high around the Indian Ocean or coastal areas, Western Kenya and around Lake Victoria. These places also known as endemic areas have Malaria cases all year round and one can get the disease by traveling to these destinations at any time of the year. Northern and Southeastern Kenya have seasons for Malaria. People traveling to these destinations during the high season can contract the disease. Studies have shown that doesn’t harbour the parasite that causes malaria.

Doctors advice against abuse of Malaria medicine because it can lead to resistance when the drugs are needed to treat the actual illness and not joint pains or headaches. There has been debate about the intake of prophylaxis when one is traveling to Malaria prone areas. Doctors advise that they should be taken before traveling, during ones stay and after returning to prevent Malaria. However, this method is recommended for foreign visitors who suffer severe effects of the disease. Locals are advised to avoid prophylaxis and only go for testing when they experience symptoms of Malaria. There’s a group of people that should avoid taking antimalarial drugs. These include people with epilepsy who should avoid mefloquine, while pregnant women shouldn’t take doxycycline. This also applies to children younger than 12 years. Malaria can cause a miscarriage or premature labour.

Barrier methods such as use of mosquito nets, repellents, sprays, coils and dressing that doesn’t expose one to mosquito bites helps curb the spread of the disease. Indoor residual spraying is one of the best interventions to break malaria transmission. Experts such as Dr Abdisalan Noor, Team Leader for Surveillance at the WHO Global Malaria Programme, say the economic progress being experienced in Kenya can only help. “The shift from mud huts to concrete houses with sealable windows will reduce exposure to mosquito bites,”.

The National Malaria Strategy 2009- 2017 had hoped that by the end of 2017, Kenya would be malaria free. This was not to be due to factors such as declining resources towards the fight against Malaria affecting programs. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria cut funding for Malaria programs by less than half of the previous package to US$ 63 million. This has created a vacuum where previously insecticides, treated nets and medicines were covered.

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