Kenya’s malaria prevalence drops amid robust prevention measures

Kenyan Coat of arms
Coat of arms

The overall malaria prevalence in Kenya dropped from 8 percent in 2015 to 5.6 percent in 2020 amid investment in robust prevention measures, senior officials said on Sunday during an event to mark World Malaria Day.

Rashid Aman, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Health said a sustained drop in malaria caseload and fatalities was an indication that Kenya was on course to eliminate the vector-borne disease by 2030.

“Kenya has made commendable progress in the malaria fight and the measures we have put in place will place us on the path towards defeating this disease,” Aman said.

He said that preliminary findings of the Kenya malaria indicator survey conducted in 2020 point at significant breakthroughs in the fight against tropical disease thanks to political goodwill, robust financing and community engagement.

“Since 2016, malaria incidents have reduced by 25 percent. The proportion of patients with malaria seeking outpatient services has reduced from 30 percent to 19 percent while in-patient admissions have decreased from 20 to 15 percent,” Aman said.

“These remarkable malaria control achievements are attributed to partnerships, increased use of bed nets and improved access to malaria treatment,” he added.

Aman said that western Kenyan counties that have historically borne the brunt of malaria have witnessed a slump in the disease prevalence from 27 percent to 19 percent.

He said the coastal region that is also endemic to malaria has witnessed a drop in prevalence rate from 8 percent to 4.5 percent.

Aman said that an analysis of routine data collected from health facilities indicate that since 2016, the number of malaria confirmed cases has reduced from 113 per 1,000 to 86 per 1,000 population.

“We plan to scale up our current efforts, introduce new strategies and apply lessons from countries that have recently eliminated malaria like Cuba, Algeria and Argentina,” Aman said.

He said that piloting of the world’s first malaria vaccine candidate in high burden countries had also contributed to a slump in caseload and fatalities among children.

George Githuka, head of the Division of the National Malaria Program said that Kenya was committed to attaining malaria-free status by 2030 through targeted investments in prevention and treatment programs.

“We are on track to eliminate malaria and have set up structures in endemic counties to ensure that control and case management programs are not affected by COVID-19 pandemic,” said Githuka. Enditem

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