Low use of treated nets to blame for malaria spread in Kenya

Mundoli Primary School pupils recite a poem about the Importance of mosquito nets during celebrations to mark World Malaria Day at Khwisero grounds in Kakamega County yesterday. [Photo: BENJAMIN SAKWA/STANDARD]

Nyanza region has a high malaria prevalence rate due to limited intervention measures, health officials have revealed.

They cited low use of treated nets, inadequate testing facilities and shortage of drugs.

The Siaya and Kisumu county health departments said despite high ownership of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, the usage stood at 40 per cent.

According to the latest reports from the Kisumu County Malaria Control Unit (MCU), locals have been reluctant to embrace intervention measures aimed at fighting the disease.

But remarkable progress was reported in Siaya County with a remarkable drop in malaria prevalence from 38 per cent last year 2015 to 27 per cent this year.

According to Siaya County Malaria Co-ordinator Peter Omoth, the region had a fair supply of malaria drugs although it was still inadequate.

He also noted that the county supplies a very large number of nets to residents placing net distribution at 91.7 per cent but the residents were yet to embrace them.

Mr Omoth revealed that net usage is at 48 per cent, stating that it was an improvement from 2010-2013 when it stood at 38 per cent in terms of distribution. He also said that the county will still sensitise locals through community health workers on the importance of malaria net usage.

Omoth said malaria patients in hospitals had reduced to 46 per cent this year, maintaining that the use of effective sensitisation on methods of fighting the disease had helped.

In Kisumu, reports indicate that negligence has pushed the prevalence of the disease in children under five to 40.9 per cent and those above five to 36.9 per cent, while prevalence in pregnant women was at 0.6 per cent.

County MCU Co-ordinator Lilyana Dayo said insecticide-treated nets have been a key strategy against malaria in the area.

She said indoor residual spraying has also been employed together with prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent complications and death from the disease.

“The fight against malaria is still in progress and we believe that universal access to malaria interventions will in improve the health outcomes and the social and economic status of Kisumu residents a big way,” she said.

Governor Jack Ranguma reiterated his government’s commitment to the fight against malaria through building more partnerships for preventive measures.

Speaking during the county’s World Malaria Day celebrations held at Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground, Mr Ranguma said this would increase the sharing of preventive information using community healthcare workers and local partners.

“Adequate supplies of approved malaria drugs in all health care facilities have also boosted the management of malaria within the county. Fewer cases of malaria drug resistance have been reported. As a result, I expect that the number of patients occupying hospital beds due to malaria will keep on reducing through outpatient management,” he said.