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Child-focused organization supports malaria prevention initiatives in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24 -Compassion International Kenya has announced that it has spent Sh13 million over the last month towards malaria prevention in selected areas within seven counties across Kenya. The counties, which are in malaria endemic and seasonal transmission zones, include Baringo, Homabay, Kilifi, Laikipia, Marsabit, Migori and Taita Taveta.

The organisation supported 81 of its Church Partners to carry out this campaign. The campaign entailed education on malaria as a deadly disease, its prevention as well as distribution of the Long Lasting Insecticidal Treated mosquito nets to the families. 

Joel Macharia, National Director, Compassion International Kenya says “Along with other key child development interventions, we act with urgency to support our Church Partners to ensure the children, youth and pregnant women in our program do not die as a result of this preventable and treatable disease. We are committed to ensuring that children and families in malaria prone areas are provided with Insecticidal Treated Mosquito Nets (ITN) accompanied with education programs to ensure a malaria-free community. “

Malaria is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Kenya. According to WHO World Malaria Report 2020, 70 percent of the population is at risk of the disease. It is estimated that in a year, there are 3.5 million new clinical cases and 10,700 deaths in Kenya. 

Measures towards malaria prevention is essential to reduce the number of infections as well as the burden on the health systems posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Robert Rono, Public Health Specialist, Baringo says, “Effective malaria preventive measures and case management interventions remain highly critical in averting malaria-related illnesses and deaths. Committing resources that address these two issues will ensure that we make progress towards attaining a zero target even as we celebrate World Malaria Day.”

Although treated mosquito nets, among other preventive measures, is one of the effective ways to prevent and reduce malaria transmission, many households are still far from universal access. The target is universal access to and use of appropriate interventions by the population at risk of malaria. 

This initiative is helping the beneficiary households meet the recommended prevention standards. 

Leah Bett, Program Support Specialist-Health, Compassion International Kenya says, “Compassion International is a child-advocacy ministry that works with children and youth in extreme poverty. Almost half of the children and youth who are registered in our program live in the malaria endemic and seasonal transmission zones. Malaria is, therefore, one of the top five causes of illness and death. On average, approximately 200 of the children are treated for malaria every month and one dies due to malaria.  Unfortunately, their families are unable to afford insecticidal treated mosquito nets. The 35,652 mosquito nets that we supported the Church Partners to distribute during this campaign will go a long way in safeguarding the lives of the children who are particularly most at-risk, youth and their family members from malaria and by extension from other diseases transmitted by the mosquito. This initiative also seeks to complement the government malaria programme”

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Baringo, one of the beneficiary counties, is highly prone to illnesses like malaria and yellow fever transmitted by the mosquito. The flooding recently reported in the region has contributed to an escalation in the vector-borne illnesses in the area.

Pastor Symon Kertich, AIC Church Sandai, Baringo says, “A majority of the children who are sick in our program are diagnosed with malaria. We are grateful to be one of the beneficiary areas to receive insecticidal treated mosquito nets. This initiative will greatly reduce malaria infections and also give our children and their families the comfort of uninterrupted sleep.”

A total of 8,432 mosquito nets were distributed in Baringo County.

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