Kenya Takes Significant Steps Towards Malaria Elimination
Nairobi, Kenya, April 19, 2023
Kenya is making significant strides towards the elimination of malaria, with the implementation of several interventions targeted at various areas of the country.
According to Dr. Josephine Mburu, the Principal Secretary of the State Department for Public Health and Professional Standards, Kenya has reduced the prevalence of malaria by over 50% in the last decade, and the number of new cases has also significantly decreased.
To build on this progress, the PS said in a speech read by Dr Andrew Mulwa, Head of Preventive and Promotive Health Services at the Ministry of Health, Kenya Malaria Elimination Implementation Plan (2021-2023) has been launched, outlining the implementation pathway of malaria elimination activities in the country. The plan aims to reduce the burden of malaria in the country and contribute to the global goal of eliminating malaria by 2030.
Kenya's efforts, together with Ghana and Malawi, resulted in the approval of the malaria vaccine for scale-up, which was launched in Kenya last month. The Ministry of Health plans to distribute 18.3 million Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) in 28 targeted counties in 2024, aiming to ensure households in malaria-risk areas have one net for every two household members.
However, the uptake of malaria interventions at the community and household levels remains below the target, and financing needs for malaria prevention, control, and elimination are significant, with a resource gap that currently stands at 50% of the resources required to fully implement the Kenya Malaria Strategic Plan.
Kenya needs to urgently address the financial resource gap, with external funding either stagnating or declining in an environment of increasing needs.
The PS acknowledged that the private sector has contributed to the fight against malaria through multisectoral advocacy and resource mobilization. “The End Malaria Council Kenya has mobilized an additional $1 million US dollars towards the fight. The Ministry of Health is also happy about the additional malaria clinics promised through this public-private partnership initiated by EMC and SC Johnson, which will go a long way in strengthening malaria control and elimination in Kenya,” she said.
The progress made in Kenya contributes to the global goal of eliminating malaria by 2030. However, ending malaria requires a collective effort, and young people's involvement is critical to the fight against the disease. The launch of the Kenya Malaria Behaviour Survey 2022, Key Indicators Report, and three malaria documents underpins the country's commitment to a comprehensive approach, addressing not only the medical aspects but also the social and behavioral factors that contribute to the spread of malaria.
Dr Diallo Abdourahmane, WHO Representative to Kenya noted that although there has been some progress made, current interventions are insufficient, and there are emerging threats such as invasive mosquito species and reductions in funding from the Global Fund.
The WR called for increased investment, innovation, and implementation to achieve zero malaria. He also acknowledged that “Kenya has made commendable strides in the fight against malaria, with significant reductions in the malaria burden, the establishment of the Zero Malaria Campaign Coalition and the End Malaria Council and Fund, the mass distribution of mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying, and the uptake of the WHO-recommended RTS,S malaria vaccine.”