Winning the Battle Against Malaria
Kenya has moved a step forward in the fight against malaria with the official launch of the national distribution of Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) on 4th October 2012 by the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. Malaria is the leading cause of death in children below the age of five years in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2011, 770,000 malaria cases were reported in Kenya and although malaria prevalence has been reduced, it still remains a major threat to the nation’s development. The Rapid Diagnostic Tests are intended to complement existing methods to diagnose malaria.
“The Rapid Diagnostic Tests will enable faster diagnosis of malaria, meaning those affected can be treated quickly and recover faster from malaria,” said Jim Hope, Acting Mission Director for USAID Kenya.
The nationwide roll-out of Rapid Diagnostic Test kits will proceed according to the Ministry’s Division of Malaria Control’s implementation plan based on areas with a higher prevalence of malaria. While all public health and faith-based facilities will have access to the kits, priority will be given to health centers and dispensaries which do not currently provide diagnostic services for malaria.
The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative has partnered with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UKaid, and the World Health Organization to procure approximately 8 million Rapid Diagnostic Test kits for 2012; a further 11 million kits will be procured in 2013.
The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative continues to work nationwide to support the Government of Kenya’s National Malaria Control Strategy of 2009-2017. Together with the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and other partners, the Initiative has trained 3,000 health workers to accurately diagnose and treat the disease. The Initiative aims to achieve and sustain reductions in malaria deaths and illnesses through delivery of four interventions including; insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual spraying, intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy and effective diagnosis and treatment of malaria.
Story by Linda Musiime