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The Anopheles gambiae group of mosquito species are currently the main drivers of malaria's spread in Africa

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Cuban Doctors in Kenya to help combat Malaria

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 27- The government has announced that Malaria experts from Cuba have arrived in the Country to help in mapping out key mosquito breeding sites across the country as part of measures to control the disease.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said biological methods will be used in spraying breeding sites.

The experts arrived in the country last week.

“As you recall, in 2019, Kenya signed an agreement with the Cuban Government who successfully managed to eliminate Malaria in 1973. The agreement was for both countries to undertake a two year project on the use of biological methods for the control of mosquito vectors,” Aman said.

He further pointed out that youths from 8 Counties will also benefit from the sustainability project which will kick off on Friday which will see 15.7 million treated mosquito nets distributed to 27 Counties.

“This malaria vector control project will target Counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homabay, Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga. Youths from these Counties will be involved in the project and this will also make this activity sustainable through time,” he said.  

So far, Malaria prevalence has reduced in Kenya from 8 percent to 5.6 percent since 2015 with Lake Region having a significant reduction rate from 27 percent to 19 percent.

Speaking Sunday during the commemoration of the World Malaria Day, Aman said the statistics were based on the preliminary findings of a survey that was conducted last year.

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“The coast region, another endemic region has seen a drop in prevalence of malaria from 8 percent to 4.5 percent which is almost a 50 percent reduction. In the period 2015 to 2020 there has been increased ownership and use of bed nets by communities as well as improved availability and access to recommended malaria treatments,” Aman said

And in an effort to accelerate the fight against Malaria, the government has launched a Sh8 billion project to distribute 15.7 million mosquito nets in 27 malaria-prone Counties from April 30-July 31

“Our plan as per our primary health care guidelines is not to wait for the disease to occur but to prevent it from occurring in the first place. We must expand our outreach in affected communities to spread knowledge on protection of individuals and families against malaria and fight mosquitoes at the source,” Aman said

It is estimated that 20,000 Kenyans die from Malaria annually.  

The disease is listed among the top 10 causes of outpatient visits countrywide with the Lake Region accounting for 70 percent of the 6.5 million malaria cases nationally.

While children and pregnant women are the most vulnerable, Aman pointed out that 190,000 children have so far received the first dose of the malaria vaccine since September 2019, and they are expected to receive the remaining 3 doses by December this year.   

The world on Sunday marked the World Malaria Day with the theme Zero malaria draw the line against malaria. 

World Malaria Day is an international observance commemorated every year on April 25 and recognizes global efforts to control malaria.

A 2019 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed 229 million new infections were recorded and 400,000 deaths registered in one year globally.

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With coronavirus pandemic ravaging the globe, WHO has warned that disruption to malaria diagnosis and treatment could lead to thousands of additional deaths across the African Continent.

For these reasons, Aman stated that while the gains made in the fight against the disease are commendable, more concerted efforts in the fight against Malaria is needed.

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