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Kenya Moves to Achieve Malaria Free Status

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) –  Kenya is likely to achieve the UN target of total malaria eradication by 2030 as the government and bilateral partners roll out robust interventions to contain the disease, officials said on Wednesday.

Sicily Kariuki, the Cabinet Secretary for Health, said Kenya has the potential to achieve the vision of malaria free status subject to robust investments in diagnostic kits, case management and public education.

“Kenya has made notable progress in combating malaria as prevalence rate drops due to a combination of policy, funding and biomedical interventions.

“Our goal to achieve malaria free status is within reach,” said Kariuki, ahead of World Malaria Day to be observed on April 25.

Statistics from Kenya’s ministry of health indicate that malaria remains the leading killer of pregnant mothers and children under five years old in the East African nation.

An estimated 70 per cent of Kenyan population is at the risk of contracting malaria and the disease is to blame for declining economic productivity and poor school enrollment in endemic regions.

Kariuki said that Kenya has borrowed international best practices to reignite the fight against malaria through mass distribution of second generation of treated nets, diagnostic kits in public hospitals and improved case management.

“Malaria prevention through distribution of treated bed nets, rapid diagnosis and treatment, advocacy and social mobilisation are part of strategies to realize a malaria free status in the country,” said Kariuki.

She disclosed that piloting of a malaria vaccine that will commence later in the year will rejuvenate the fight against the vector borne disease.

Kenya will implement a long-term strategy to accelerate progress towards elimination of malaria in the high endemic coastal strip and western region.

Ejersa Waqo, the Head of National Malaria Programme in the ministry of health, said that improved governance, research, public awareness and domestic resource mobilization will reduce malaria burden in Kenya.

“Our new strategy to eliminate malaria in the country is embedded in the universal health coverage goal outlined by the President,” said Waqo.

He revealed the government is addressing policy, technical and financing bottlenecks that have undermined the fight against malaria in the country. (Xinhua/NAN)

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