A few months ago, I visited my ANC clinic. The normal ANC profile was taken, the nurse asked, “Are you taking enough measures against malaria?” “Well, of course, I do but the nets make me uncomfortable through the night due to too much heat and sweating”, I replied. You should have seen the eyes she gave me, hehe. I bet she was wondering how I could be casual and ignorant with my life. I had to clarify that I use the mortein doom to spray away the insects every evening from the house. I equally spread nets on the other children’s beds and cover them as they sleep. I saw a smile break out on her face after I explained further.
As a mother, I know it hurts when a child gets under the weather, It hurts worse when you see your child vomiting, under high fever, weak and in pain, just lying there and there’s nothing really you can do to stop his pain. A point where you just wait and pray for the medicine to work and hope for the body to respond well to the medication, that point is not easy. No mother wants this for their little one yet some forget such case scenarios are easily prevented. These are just but some of the symptoms of malaria.
Research shows that malaria accounts for over 10,000 maternal and 200,000 neonatal deaths per year. World health organization (WHO) contends that Africa bears more than close to 70% of the global malaria burden. This situation has been worsened by the Coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in most organizations redirecting efforts to fight the virus. However, the fight against malaria is far from over.
Over the years, various initiatives have had tremendous success in reducing the continent’s morbidity and mortality rates related to malaria. The period between 2000-2019 has seen an aversion of close to 1.5 billion cases of malaria and 7.6 million malaria-related deaths. More than 80% of the cases in bot instances are from Africa.
This positive progress has been the joint effort of international organizations and local governments. However, the latter has taken a lead role, funding 70% of the resources and initiatives related to malaria.
In recent years, the fight against malaria has experienced a gradually expanding funding gap, which, in consequence, has seen a plateauing of the progress made since 2000.
With health efforts concentrated on the pandemic, the situation is unlikely to change. This translates to fewer medicines to treat malaria and fewer resources like treated mosquito nets that were mainly being provided by international organizations.
In light of these factors, it is unlikely that the continent will achieve the Global Technical Strategy for malaria (GTS) milestones. Nonetheless, there are several measures taken at the national level to eradicate malaria.
For instance, the Kenya Malaria strategy 2019-2023 identifies several mechanisms through which the country can rid itself of malaria. Some of these include malaria prevention in pregnancy, vector control, treatment, monitoring and evaluation of malaria, and social and behavior change.
Several of these mechanisms require the joint efforts of the public in order that they achieve their intended outcomes. For example, pregnant mothers need to sleep in treated nets, and people need to be more proactive in vector control measures.
Awareness creation is a significant factor in facilitating these changes. However, the country is constrained with various challenges, such as a considerable funding gap (24.07 billion) that will affect the implementation of the strategies.
As mentioned in the former, a large proportion of malaria initiatives are funded by international organizations. However, as the pandemic continues to ravage the world and new strains of the virus continue to discover every so often, funding options are limited. For this reason, it is imperative that Kenyans take the responsibility to protect themselves and their loved ones from getting malaria.
At the individual level, the primary method of protection is vector control. This involves disrupting the parasite’s lifecycle before it matures enough to transmit the disease and taking measures to prevent contact with mosquitoes.
Reckitt company, the manufacturer of Mortein Doom insecticides, has been at the forefront in empowering Kenyans to protect themselves from malaria.
The company has fervently taken part in anti-malaria campaigns alongside the ministry of health and other stakeholders. In addition, Reckitt has ensured a continuous supply and distribution of Mortein doom insecticides all over the country, which are an effective method of vector control.
With the rainy season upon us, such measures are essential to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system with malaria patients when they can barely handle those suffering from the Coronavirus.
Floods and cool temperatures, which often accompany rainy seasons, offer conducive conditions for the female anopheles mosquito to breed. However, Mortein doom insecticides are readily available at local shops to allow Kenyans to protect themselves from contracting malaria.
As the world celebrates World Malaria Day today, the 25th of April, it is significant to keep in mind the slogan for a malaria-free Africa: Zero malaria starts with me.