Towards a Malaria-Free Kenya

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malaria-babyMalaria is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in many developing countries, where children and pregnant women are the most vulnerable groups. In Kenya, the disease is responsible for 34,000 under five child deaths annually. About 70% of Kenya’s total population is at risk for malaria.

With funding predominantly from international donors and development partners, the country has adopted and implemented multiple malaria control strategies, resulting in aITN use remarkable decline in the national all-cause under 5 mortality. Despite the gains, a slight downward trend was noted in the proportion of households with at least one insecticide treated net (ITN), the proportion of children under five years old who slept under an ITN, and the proportion of pregnant women who slept under an ITN between 2008 and 2010.

The Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Department for International Development (DfID), and the US President’s Malaria Initiative have confirmed funding for the 2013 implementation period, but this falls short of the expected need. Despite repeatedly reiterating its commitment to the fight against malaria, the Kenyan government has previously played a minor role in financing the control efforts.

There is an urgent need to intensify scale-up of targeted interventions in order to reverse the downward trend and attain universal targets. It is possible to close the funding gap through greater in-country resource mobilization. Government commitment to malaria control needs to be reflected in ministry of health budgetary allocations. Civil society organizations also have a role to play. It is possible to have a malaria free Kenya.

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3 Responses to “Towards a Malaria-Free Kenya”

  1. Malaria Matters » Towards a Malaria-Free Kenya Says:

    […] Kubo has written this guest blog posting that originally appeared in SBFPHC Policy and Advocacy. Malaria is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in many developing countries, where children […]

  2. heatherteixeira Says:

    Thank you for this look at how to improve insecticide-treated net coverage in Kenya! I used to live and work in Tanzania, and noted that while nets were cheaply and easily available, many people still chose not to use them. Do you believe the reduction in net usage in Kenya is due to a lack of resources, or do you think it could have more to do with population attitudes and cultural beliefs? When you suggest using the Kenyan government’s resources, do you specifically mean financial resources or were you envisioning media campaigns and other methods to increase use of an available product?

    Thanks!
    Heather

  3. enkubo Says:

    You raise an important perspective. Although I am yet to come across literature that cites cultural beliefs and attitudes as impediments to ITN usage in Kenya, these are valid factors that could play into the latter two ITN indicators outlined above. However, they would not impact the proportion of households with at least one ITN. The Roll Back Malaria- Kenya 2012 road-map (http://www.rbm.who.int/countryaction/kenya_roadmap2012.html) makes reference to a $160 000 funding gap and a commodity gap of 20,000 ITNs.

    With respect to funding, the government is yet to honor its pledge (the Abuja declaration) to allocate at least 15% of expenditures to health. In fact, this has actually fallen from 8.3% in 2002 to 6.4% in 2007-2008 (http://www.unaids.org/en/dataanalysis/knowyourresponse/countryprogressreports/2012countries/ce_KE_Narrative_Report.pdf). This could be an issue of political will and prioritization.

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