The 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, released in April this year, reports that Acute respiratory infection (ARI), malaria, and dehydration caused by severe diarrhea are major causes of child morbidity and mortality in Kenya.
The report further recommended that: Prompt and effective treatment for malaria is crucial to prevent the disease from becoming severe and complicated.
The death of 7 children from malaria-endemic, at Kakamega General Hospital, Kakamega County on Sunday in a span of 24 hours is shocking.
The World Health Organisation in marking the World Malaria Day 2015, called for a high-level commitment to the vision of a world free of malaria. The theme, set by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, is Invest in the future: Defeat malaria.
With a strategy the aims to reduce malaria cases and deaths by 90% by 2030 from current levels, WHO noted that: “Effective tools to prevent and treat malaria already exist, but more funds are urgently required to make them available to the people who need them and to combat emerging drug and insecticide resistance.”
The East African, in its article, “Malaria burden high in western Kenya”, Data collected by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) in collaboration with the Atlanta, Us-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2013 shows that the number of people carrying parasites in their blood is still 35 per cent in children below five, 56 per cent in those aged five and 15 and 22 per cent in those above 15.
Subsequently, with calls for more funding to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 6, 4 and 5(MDG) target of halting and reversing the incidence of malaria.
How can it be sustained?
We need to get insecticide-treated nets to all people;
Expanding the supply of healthcare and strengthening of the primary health care services with an aim of improving the delivery of quality essential health services;
The malaria parasite infects healthy red blood cells, where it reproduces. The P. falciparum parasite generates a family of molecules, known as PfEMP1, that are inserted into the surface of the infected red blood cells. The cells become sticky and adhere to the walls of blood vessels in tissues such as the brain.
This prevents the cells from being flushed through the spleen, where the parasites would be destroyed by the body’s immune system but also restricts blood supply to vital organs. Symptoms can differ greatly between young and older children depending on previous exposure to the parasite. In young children, the disease can be extremely serious and potentially fatal if untreated; older children and adults who have grown up in endemic areas are resistant to severe malaria but rarely develop the ability to rid their bodies of the parasite.
David is a Kenyan Journalist with a depth of experience in business, agriculture, technology, democracy and governance. He is passionate about health, youth engagement, women and girls’ empowerment issues that resonate with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).