Siaya county has rolled out mass mosquito nets distribution plans to curb the infection of malaria which has led to congestion of our health facilities in the recent past. The road towards a malaria free County which has four stages including campaigns, registration, distribution and post distribution has just finalized its second stage being household registration. The registration managed to capture 251,669 households out of the targeted 257, 417 which is 98% of the target.
The captured households will collect their nets at various designated distribution points within the county in the coming weeks.
Malaria prevalence as at 2015 Kenya Malaria Indicator Survey (KMIS) was at 27% which has reduced to 18% in the recent years in Siaya county. The county has not turned a blind eye on high endemic areas such as Alego Usonga Sub County which contribute a greater percentage to the county tally. The mortality rate is projected to be 2% out of the severe cases of 4%.
The distribution is meant to help Kenya in attaining the highest standard of health as par the Kenya Health Policy 2014-2030 which highlights significant interventions that are to be implemented to address key challenges in the health sector such malaria. Interventions against malaria including scaled up use of insecticide treated nets (ITNs), intermittent prophylaxis treatment (IPT), and inside residual spraying (IRS) which has kicked off in some counties such as Migori will help in reduction of malaria infection within the country Kenya.
From the phrase ‘prevention is better than cure,’ Siaya has made concerted effort through the auspices of the National Government to ensure that the malaria scourge is eliminated within the county by sleeping under long lasting insecticidal (LLI) treated mosquito nets. This will prevent the residents from female anopheles’ mosquito bites that causes malaria.
According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) 2016, malaria is second killer diseases in Kenya at 8% falling short by 3% of pneumonia which is taking the lead. From the statistics there is need for prevention to reduce malaria mortality cases within country.
The nets that are to be distributed will be usable for 3 years as long as they are not torn, and washed with water and soap. They should not be aired on direct sunlight upon washing as this reduces the strength on preventing mosquito penetration.
According to Madam Eunice Oreri, the County Coordinator for Malaria, these nets will reduce malaria cases within the county thus decongesting the health facilities in terms of those seeking treatment hence reduced workload and increased per capita income especially during this corona period that people need to maintain social distance.
Since inception of free nets distribution, the positivity rate has fallen drastically in Siaya County which was initially burdened because of the water bodies and swampy areas that are habitual sites for mosquito breeding.
The diseases that presents itself with fever, headache, and chills as the main symptoms varies in prevalence and symptoms from children to adults. Children with severe malaria frequently develop symptoms like anemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis or cerebral malaria and in adults it leads to multi organ failure.
In relation to COVID-19 which it seemingly share symptoms with, the county Malaria Coordinator Madam Eunice Oreri says once a patient come with the aforementioned symptoms, they are first tested for malaria. If found positive for malaria he/ she will be treated and tracked as par the government policy to find out how they recuperating.
If a patient test turns out to be malaria negative, his/her travel contacts are assessed and tested to rule out possibility of COVID-19