Kenya must change tact to tackle malaria – expert

October 3, 2012 2:41 pm
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He also refuted reports of a new mosquito species/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – The government has now been urged to revise the strategies of fighting mosquitoes to effectively control the spread of malaria.

Speaking to journalists in Nairobi on Wednesday, Pan African Mosquito Control Association (PAMCA) president Charles Mbogo said the government must increase research funding to boost the capacities of mosquito surveillance.

Mbogo added that Kenya must update the data it has on malaria and its spread to develop better policies on malaria.

“It is important for the country to shift approach to preventing the spread of malaria.”

Mbogo noted the need to control mosquitoes’ breeding grounds saying it would be more effective in the long term.

“We have been using mosquito nets and insecticides but these approaches will not be effective enough in the long run so we have to develop alternatives like controlling their breeding sites such as swamps and ponds. We have to know how to efficiently kill their larvae,” he urged.

He also refuted reports of a new mosquito species saying there were two main vectors of malaria in the country but that had several strains.

“When you look at them through a lens, it is like looking at twins and you cannot tell the difference. It could be a new strain but within the two vectors,” he explained.

He further asked the government to provide incentives for entomologists who would boost research on malaria noting that mosquitoes were becoming drug resistant.

“We have been using mosquito nets and insecticides but these approaches will not be effective enough in the long run so we have to develop alternatives like controlling their breeding sites such as swamps and ponds. We have to know how to efficiently kill their larvae,” he urged.

“We have to bring together entomologists to share information in terms of mosquito research. You find that it’s very hard to get an entomologist. Yes we are training them in our universities but where are they going?” he posed.

“And those who are there are not doing much,” he added.

International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology Director General Christian Borgemeister also expressed concern over the lack of a new potent anti-malarial drug.

He also noted that there was no new insecticide for fighting mosquitoes.

“We must come up with alternative ways of fighting these insects and we could bring in communities as part of the control system or come up with something that repels mosquitoes,” he said.

He also challenged governments to build the capacities for research hubs adding that they should also make entomology an attractive career choice.

The two spoke during the first PAMCA meeting in Kenya at the Kenya Medical Research Institute training centre.

PAMCA will be charged with providing leadership, information and training to the enhancement of health through the suppression of mosquitoes and mosquito transmitted diseases.

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