Health Officials in Busia County have expressed optimism that the Therapeutic Efficacy Study (TES) to be conducted at the Port Victoria Hospital in Bunyala Sub County would guide the policy on the fight against malaria.
The study will be spearheaded by the National Malaria programme in partnership with the Busia County Government and PMI Impact Malaria.
The Director Medical Services Dr Janerose Ambuchi and her Preventive and Promotive Services counterpart Dr Melsah Lutomia said the research would ascertain the effectiveness of the 1st and 2nd line antimalarial drugs in the management of the disease.
“The aim is to ascertain why we are having a prevalence rate of 39 per cent in the County. It will be a big boost that will benefit us in terms of policy change,” she said.
Speaking at the Chef West hotel in Busia Town during sensitization for healthcare workers that will be involved in the TES, Dr Ambuchi said that those concerned should ensure they executed the study properly for the interest of achieving the intended objective.
“Since it is a research setting, we need very accurate information that will bring out the actual truth on the ground,” she said, adding that the provincial administration should ensure locals support the exercise set to begin at the end of March, 2022 for a period of six months.
Lutomia stated that: “Though we are the greatest sufferers in this issue of malaria, we will be the beneficiaries if we find that probably Artemether Lumefantrine (AL) is not efficacious. It is a study that will help us make a policy shift based on the results.”
The Head of Surveillance, Monitoring, Evaluation and Operational Research, Division of National Malaria Programme Dr Elvis Oyugi said the study is harmless, adding that no one should be worried about the blood that would be collected for the tests.
He said that the research targets children aged 6 months to 10 years who would be screened at the health facility where those meeting the inclusion criteria to be participants in the study would be enrolled.
Oyugi further disclosed that Port Victoria Hospital has been selected for the study because of the high burden of malaria.
“Busia County is leading in terms of malaria burden in the country based on the Kenya Malaria Indicator Survey conducted in 2020. It also shares a border with Uganda, complicating the situation considering that there is need for the synergy in terms of cross border surveillance and malaria prevention and control,” he said.
By Absalom Namwalo