KENYA – Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe is challenging East African community member states to integrate new technologies in their cross-border strategic approaches aimed at eliminating malaria within the region.
Speaking in Kigali, Rwanda during the first Great Lakes Malaria Initiative planning meeting, in his capacity as Chair of the EAC Health Ministers Sectoral Council, Kagwe said prioritizing prevention and Surveillance remain key in accelerating the elimination of the disease.
“As we grapple with our sorry situation, elsewhere, a study by WHO showed that the South-East Asian Regions known as The Mekong Region, comprising Cambodia, China (Yunnan Province), Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam reported outstanding progress as the reported number of malaria cases in six countries fell by 97 percent between 2000 and 2020,” observed the health CS.
According to Kagwe, the Mekong region recorded a drop of over 99 percent in deaths resulting from malaria during the same period, despite the ongoing threat of antimalarial drug resistance.
I believe that we too can and will achieve similar success particularly with the onset of the newly approved first ever malaria vaccine for use in children
“What worked for this region is that they prioritized prevention and Surveillance to accelerate malaria elimination. They employed techniques such as Mapping the private sector, Comprehensive training and routine supervision to ensure high-quality malaria care and data reporting,” said Kagwe.
The health CS was however buoyant that ongoing interventions which include close engagement of Regional Economic Blocs in Africa as well as increased resources, political will, and commitment will help deal decisively with the bane of malaria.
“I believe that we too can and will achieve similar success particularly with the onset of the newly approved first ever malaria vaccine for use in children. We look forward to the wider deployment of this vaccine to be used alongside other preventive measures,” remarked the health CS.
He urged East African member states to support collective needs on sustained funding, inclusive health, surveillance data and community engagement that includes private sector involvement and participation.
He said Kenya, under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, has committed 5 million dollars towards regional fight against malaria.
Kenya through the Kenya Medical Research Institute has also developed a malaria rapid Diagnostic Test kit which is set to be launched before the end of the year.
During his visit to Rwanda, the health CS toured several projects including one supported by community health workers where they use local methods to control the spread of malaria as well as a mall owned by the group that was constructed using their own savings.