Kericho County has stepped up efforts to reduce the number of malaria infections, especially among pregnant women who are deemed to be high risk group by supplying them with free mosquito nets.
The County Malaria Control Coordinator, Mr Richard Siele, revealed that the free mosquito nets were available to the pregnant women during their prenatal clinic visits to ensure they were well protected from malaria, which he indicated ranked 12 among the leading causes of morbidity in Kericho County.
“Pregnant mothers, children under the age of five, elderly population over the age of 70 and people with compromised immunity are at high risk of malaria infections,” said Mr Siele.
Mr Siele was speaking to KNA during an interview that coincides with this year’s World Malaria Day (25th April 2021) whose theme is “Zero Malaria – Draw the line against Malaria.”
Although the day could not be observed in an event as in the previous years due to Covid-19 restrictions, he was pleased to report that there has been a significant reduction in cases of Malaria over the last few years in Kericho County.
“In the last one year, the test positivity rate has been 14 per cent down from 18 per cent, while the prevalence was at 3 per cent,” said Mr Siele.
The medic attributed the drop of Malaria infections in the County to the integrated interventions and strategies employed such as; Prompt and effective Malaria case management, consistency in the supply of Malaria commodities such as drugs and laboratory test kits.
He also said that clearing of the environment and drainage of stagnant water around homes had contributed greatly in reducing infections rate in the County.
“Kericho County is classified as one among the highland epidemic prone zones and the most common parasite here is the Female Anopheles (Plasmodium Falciparum) which causes malaria,” said Mr Siele.
Meanwhile, he urged the public to watch out for malaria symptoms and seek medical attention as soon as possible, noting that Malaria infections accounted for 30 per cent to 50 per cent of all outpatient attendance and 20 per cent of all admissions to health facilities.
“Symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, profuse sweating, muscle pains, joint pains, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, irritability, and lack of appetite,” said Mr Siele.
He said medication was readily available which include Artemesinin based combination therapy (ACT) plus Artemether Lumefantrine (AL) which he said was the recommended first line treatment for uncomplicated malaria for children and adults except pregnant women.
According to Mr Siele, eradication of Malaria remains high among the priorities of Kericho County, citing strong political commitment from the County leadership and that advocacy was still ongoing for external program funding and technologies to help the eradication of malaria both locally in the County and nationally as well.
By Kibe Mburu