Malaria prevalence in Kenya drops amid robust preventive measures

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Anopheles mosquito dangerous vehicle of a malaria infection.

Kenya said on Wednesday that the malaria prevalence that had been high in previous years had dropped amid investment in robust preventative measures.

Mercy Mwangangi, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Health said during the launch of the Kenya Malaria Indicator Survey (KMIS) 2020 in Nairobi that the burden of malaria had dropped from 8 percent in 2015 to 6 percent in 2020.

She observed that sustained advocacy and behavior change campaigns targeting at-risk populations have also led to an uptake of malaria prevention and control interventions at the community level.

George Githuka, head of the Division of National Malaria Program in the Ministry of Health said that stalled progress in some of the malaria prevention interventions has necessitated the need for intensified awareness and behavior campaigns.

Githuka said that Kenya is increasing efforts toward having at least 80 percent of all pregnant women living in endemic zones receiving at least three doses of first-line drugs and sustaining adherence to policy guidance in non-endemic areas.

According to the malaria survey, a further increase was recorded in the uptake of three or more doses of Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPTp) in targeted endemic areas.

In the western Kenya endemic zone, the uptake increased to 49 percent, a 14 percent increase from 2015 and 49 percent in the Coast endemic zone, a 3 percent rise in comparison to the previous year of study.

Among children aged six months to 14 years, the survey found that malaria prevalence is higher among rural children than urban children at 7 percent and 3 percent respectively.

The survey, conducted every five years, is a periodic in-depth assessment that provides data on malaria prevention and case management, as well as the prevalence of tropical disease and anemia among children in Kenya.

It was conducted within a nationally representative sample of 6,771 women from 7,952 households aged between 15 and 49 years yielding a response rate of 97 percent and 96 percent for target households and women respectively.

The 2020 national malaria survey which was conducted between November 9 and December 3, 2020, is the fourth to be conducted in Kenya after previous ones in 2015, 2010 and 2007.

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