Christine Atieno's tomb stands in front of her mother's straw hut in the village of Randago in Siaya county.
The eleven-year-old boy died of malaria in February; in a kind of irony, since the house of his family shares a fence with Randago Dispensary.
Local community health volunteer (ALV), Alice Anyango, said the girl was rushed to the facility late and quickly referred to Siaya County Reference Hospital, where she died.
"If I had been informed before, she would have been treated on time, her life could have been saved, but her father delayed and did not even call me," Anyango says.
On April 25, Siaya County will host World Malaria Day celebrations, at a time when the county is proud to have reduced the prevalence of malaria from 37% to 27% between 2016 and 2019.
Malaria continues to be an ever-present danger with the World Health Organization's World Malaria Report (WHO), claiming that 100 percent of the Kenyan population is at risk of infection.
The National Malaria Strategy 2009-2017 noted that one in three outpatient clinics in public health facilities is due to malaria. He identified six areas to deal with malaria – the use of networks, intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy, epidemic preparedness, case management, surveillance, and behavior change communication in health education.
Other health issues
Children are the most vulnerable with the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey of 2014, noting that 52 children out of 1,000 under the age of five die of malaria.
Currently, 63 percent of Kenya's households have at least one treated mosquito net, while 87 percent of public health facilities have diagnostic capacity.
The Ministry of Health states that household residual spraying (IRS), diagnosis-based treatment policy, preventive drug delivery, and other integrated vector control measures have probably contributed to low transmission.
In 2018, a 36-day internal residual spray supported by the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) targeted 14 sub-counties in Migori and Homa Bay counties and sprayed 440,000 structures, thereby protecting about 1.8 million people .
A pilot program is under way in the municipality of Busia on the use of wallpaper repellents to keep mosquitoes away. The Kenya Malaria Indicator Survey (KMIS) of 2015 found that the endemic region of the lake still leads the prevalence of malaria, followed by the endemic areas of the Coast and the upland epidemic.
Dr. Kennedy Oruenjo, director of health in Busia County, attributes the decline in prevalence to the use of long-term treated nets and the critical role played by community health volunteers.
He says that while the distribution of these networks is 97%, the use of networks is currently 50% in the municipality. But this was complemented by the involvement of the CHVs.
"We have CHVs that are supported by our partners, like WorldVision; they were trained to track, track and treat malaria, which means that these cases no longer need to wait to be referred to health facilities, "Oruenjo said.
Governor Cornel Rasanga adds that the construction, equipment and staff of 27 dispensaries and 10 health centers also helped. "We also open roads to ensure people get to health centers easily unlike before. We have also drafted a bill that seeks to recognize CHVs so they can be adequately remunerated, "Rasanga said.
CHVs have become an important pillar in education, detection and treatment of malaria. Several counties hired the services of this cadre of health workers. Each CHV in Siaya covers at least 100 families.
Irene Mukudi, a community mobilizer with World Vision in Siaya, said that 279 CHVs were empowered to deal not only with malaria, but also with issues of child health and HIV.
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