The Ministry of Health has launched a mass net distribution exercise in Taita-Taveta County aiming to distribute 233,000 Long-Term Treated Mosquito Nets to residents as part of a national campaign to eradicate the burden of malaria infection in the region.
The five-day exercise is coordinated by the Department of Health in the county.
Ms Deborah Ikonge, Head of Communication for the program, said that 27 counties where malaria was still a threat, would benefit from the nets. Already, the exercise has taken place amongst 12 counties. The distribution exercise takes place every three years.
Speaking in Voi while overseeing the distribution of the nets, Ikonge stated that the national distribution program would see over 15 million nets distributed to benefit 25 million Kenyans.
“The aim is to eradicate malaria infections by ensuring that residents of the targeted counties will get the nets and use them well. We hope to reach over 25 million Kenyans on this drive,” she said.
According to data by the National Malaria Control Program, 25 million people are at risk of Malaria infection in Kenya. Areas most at risk of this vector include Lakeside regions and the Coast due to the presence of water bodies and conducive environment for breeding of Malaria parasites.
Highlands in Central and Nairobi areas are classified as low malaria risk areas.
Ikonge further called for proper use of mosquito nets by the beneficiaries as per the prescribed use. She noted that in the past, a section of people who received the nets used them for other purposes including fishing, rearing chicks and fencing of vegetable gardens.
“These nets should be put into the use they are meant for. This means placing nets over your beds to protect you from mosquito bites,” she said.
Ms Alemba Marura, a resident of Kaloleni village in Voi, said she was happy to receive her free net and said she would put it to good use. She however called for digitalization of the process to make net distribution faster and more efficient.
“The health workers are spending too much time searching for names on the manual register. This exercise should be digitized to make it faster,” she said.
By Wagema Mwangi