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Kenya feted for malaria plan

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – Kenya is among four African countries that have received a continental award for accelerating life saving malaria prevention and treatment.

Public Health Minister Beth Mugo announced on Wednesday that the award by the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), an organisation of African Heads of State, recognised exemplary leadership in accelerating and sustaining access to malaria control and treatment commodities.

She said as a result of the measures taken by the government, the country had not suffered a malaria epidemic in the last five years.

"We also received an award for TB sometime ago and now we received another international award from Thailand on Public health which we will tell you about at a later press conference," Mrs Mugo said.

"Even as we have some challenges because we haven\’t done it all, the awards show that this ministry is delivering on its promise," she added.

ALMA\’s Interim Executive Secretary Johannah-Joy Phumaphi said Kenya was recognised for banning the importation and use of oral artemisinin based monotherapies which cause drug resistance.

It was also distinguished for removal of taxes on essential commodities used in the fight against malaria.

"Last year 650,000 under fives (children below five years) died on the African continent from malaria and we feel that part of this is because some of our countries still allow the marketing of monotherapies," she said.

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"So it is extremely important that all the African countries ban the marketing of artemisinin based monotherapies," the ALMA official stated.

She said that Kenya was on the right track to achieving the Millennium Development Goal of eliminating malaria deaths by 2015.

ALMA focuses on elimination of malaria in the region and has been critical in sourcing funds for malaria.

Selection of the winners was done by representatives of the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, Roll Back Malaria (a global framework for coordinated action against Malaria) and academia.

The awards were presented at the sidelines of the AU meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Uganda, Tanzania and Guinea also received the award.

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