As Kenyans join in commemorating the World Malaria Day on Thursday, cases of malaria have slightly dropped in Vihiga County, according to the local health department.
The County Coordinator for Malaria, Mrs. Hellen Avoga made the revelation when she briefed members of press in her office at Vihiga County Referral Hospital on Wednesday evening.
According to official statistics, a total of 28, 786 patients across the county were diagnosed with malaria between
January and March, 2019, compared to 32, 131 cases in 2018 within the same period.
“This translates to a 7.5 percent drop of malaria cases in Vihiga County,” stated Avoga who attributed the drop to several factors.
Avoga partly credited the drop to ongoing sensitization campaigns mounted by the health department in conjunction with various stakeholders, “that have culminated in remarkable behaviour change among residents of the county,” she noted.
The official hailed the locals for putting into practice key messages emanating from the various awareness campaigns.
“A spot check across the county indicated that most of the residents were now putting into proper usage of government
distributed mosquito nets unlike in the past,” disclosed Avoga who urged few locals who were still abusing the same to change.
“The prolonged period of drought also played a significant part in reducing cases of malaria this year,” observed Avoga.
According to the health official, the drought period also denied breeding ground for mosquitoes.
“However the situation is likely to change, especially with onset of rains that are currently pounding the area,” she
The Malaria Coordinator also thanked pregnant mothers for going for prenatal clinics, saying the practice had contributed to the current drop in Malaria cases, especially among the new-borns.
She appealed to the locals to turn up in numbers at Walodeya Primary School in Sabatia Sub County where the county would hold events marking the World Malaria Day.
“The health department will conduct malaria clinics, which will include free testing and treatment of malaria and other
diseases for residents who will turn out at the event venue,” she revealed.
World Malaria Day is observed on April 25 every year to raise awareness about the deadly vector-borne disease.
The latest World Malaria report states that malaria remains to be global health burden and there is no significant
reduction in malaria cases in the period of 2015 to 2017.
This year marks the 12th anniversary of the World Malaria Day. It was initiated in May 2007 for the first time by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly.
The World Malaria Day focuses on a specific theme every year and this year the theme is ‘Zero malaria starts with me’.
As per the name of the theme, the focus of the programme this year is on empowering communities across various countries to take ownership of preventing malaria and providing proper care/treatment.
By Maurice Aluda