, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – The government has kicked off a mass campaign to distribute 15 million long lasting insecticide treated nets to 23 counties that are malaria prone.
The two-year exercise which will end in 2018 is part of an ongoing and sustained campaign to fight the disease.
Head of the National Malaria Control Programme Dr Waqo Ejersa says Kenya’s malaria prevalence has declined significantly as a result of such campaigns, with a notable decline being in 2015 where the malaria prevalence rate declined to 27pc from 38pc in 2013 in the lake region.
The overall malaria prevalence in Kenya has also recorded a drop having moved from 11 percent in 2010 to eight percent in 2015.
The government plans to have distributed 3.2 million nets in Homabay, Kisumu, Migori, Siaya and Vihiga Counties by mid next month. This will be followed by distributions in Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega, Kericho, Kilifi, Kisii, Kwale, Lamu, Mombasa, Nandi, Narok, Nyamira, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu and West Pokot.
Dr Ejersa explained that the nets would be distributed per the number of individuals in a household. “One net is apportioned to two people and the government seeks to ensure that the campaign covers everyone in the target counties.”
“So if you have 10 people in one household then that household will get five nets as we aim to achieve universal coverage because of the high risk of contracting malaria in these counties. Owing to the magnitude of the exercise, some of the nets will be distributed this year and then the rest will be distributed in 2018,” he stated.
The long lasting nets have a three-year life cycle and the government has been replacing them every three years. This will be the third time that the government is distributing large scale LLINs having previously done so in 2011-2012 and again in 2014-2015.
He further observed that advocacy, communication and social mobilisation campaigns had already been conducted in the target counties. This is aimed at ensuring that the target population uses the LLINs appropriately.
The Sh5.6 billion will cater for the two-year campaign and cover distribution costs, advocacy, delivery to the end-user, communication activities among others.