Malaria still biggest killer in Africa, say experts

Selfa Chisia (right) gets tested during the World Malaria Day marked at Nangina Girls grounds in Busia yesterday. [PHOTO/CHRISPEN SECHERE/STANDARD]
Busia, Kenya - Kenya is among countries in Africa struggling to defeat malaria. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the disease has killed more children and expectant mothers.

In Kenya, Western, Nyanza and Coastal regions lead with the high malaria prevalence compared to other regions.

Speaking at Nangina Girls’ High School in Busia County during this year’s World’s Malaria Day, Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the Government will increase funds allocated to health sector to boost the war against malaria.

“The Government intends to increase the financial allocations and support the health sector to ensure that we reduce mortality rate,” said Macharia.

He asked both the national and county governments to invest to control the spread of malaria .

SEE ALSO :Vital malaria vaccine trial to cost state Sh3.7 billion

Macharia said increased mortality rate in Nyanza, Western and Coastal regions is due to proximity to water bodies which act as sources of mosquito breeding zones.

“We have distributed over 10.6 million mosquito nets in the country and we are targeting over 14 million long lasting nets to be distributed in the next one year in 25 counties that have the high malaria prevalence,” he said.

He revealed that the Government will spend over Sh200 million on Indoor Mosquito Spray programme.

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He urged all counties to take a step in the fight against malaria, saying this is how Kenya will the win the war against the disease.

“Other countries in this region should also engage in the fight against the disease,” he said.

SEE ALSO :Kerio Valley battles rising malaria cases

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong said the country will not win the war against malaria if counties will continue to be given limited funds.

He said the budget allocated to his county is below the required budget to fight malaria.

“Sh5 million is not enough to fight malaria in Busia County, we need more funds to be allocated to the health sector,” said Ojaamong.

He said all county governments are struggling to get enough funds for the the health sector worsening the situation in public hospitals in the county.

According to World Health Organisation malaria is still a dangerous disease in Africa, which has contributed to high mortality rate.

SEE ALSO :Form One girl dies, five in hospital as malaria spreads

Dr Custodia Mandalhate, the WHO Country Representative in charge in Kenya said malaria is a major public health problem in Africa and an impediment to socio-economic development.

“In 2013, there were 198 million estimated cases of malaria, which led to over 584,000 deaths. The burden is still heaviest in Africa where more than 90 per cent of deaths occurred mostly among children of less than five years old,” said Dr Mandalhate.

In Kenya in 2014, about 35 per cent cases occurred in eight counties: Kakamega, Migori, Homa Bay, Siaya, Bungoma, Kisumu, Busia and Vihiga. Central and North Eastern regions recorded the least prevalence rates.

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