Kenya, Rwanda have achieved a 50% reduction in Malaria cases affecting pregnant women and children under five years.

The revelations were made by senior policy makers in the Country`s health sector during the launch of Global Malaria Action Plan in Nairobi.

The Action plan is a Roll Back Malaria initiative that outlines a long term global vision on malaria eradication."The Kenya government has commissioned public health interventions geared towards significant reduction of malaria incidence and deaths", says Public Health and Sanitation Assistant Minister, James Gesami.

He reiterates that these interventions take a holistic approach that hinges on sound policies, increased financial commitment and political goodwill to boost malaria prevention and treatment.

"The reduction of malaria burden as set out in the National Malaria strategy (NMS) directly contributes to Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) on reducing child and maternal mortality.Indeed, six out of the eight MDGS can be realized if effective malaria control interventions are implemented effectively", says Gesami.

The National Malaria strategy underscores use of insecticide treated nets for vector control, access to affordable and quick treatment, and early preparedness, as critical to militating against the epidemic.

Kenya has substantially implemented these interventions as demonstrated in a 44% reduction in childhood deaths in four malaria endemic Districts.

Gesami noted that there has been a 13% reduction of Malaria cases as seen in outpatient departments in the Country`s health facilities.Mass distribution of insecticide treated nets targeting the vulnerable groups has hit 3.4 million.

The Ministry of public health and sanitation intends to expand indoor residual spraying campaign to protect four million Kenyans at risk of malaria epidemic in sixteen malaria prone districts in Western Kenya.

Several bottlenecks however are impeding efforts to fight malaria in Kenya, echoes Willis Akhwale, the immediate Head of Malaria Control Division, Ministry of Health.Akhwale notes that inadequate financial resources present hurdles in the effective implementation of malaria prevention strategies.

Kenya requires about $120 Million annually to significantly reduce the malaria burden.Other challenges too exist at the policy level. "Previously, the disease has been given lip service by policymakers and political leadership. Inadequate resource allocation has been a drawback in efforts to reduce malaria incidences.  

There is need to harmonize policies on Malaria, mobilize additional resources as well as strengthen the surveillance systems in order to manage the epidemic", says Akhwale

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