MALARIA prevalence in the country is on the decline with illnesses and deaths reduced by 50 per cent, Public Health minister Beth Mugo has said.
Malaria illnesses and deaths in young children has reduced by between 44 and 52 per cent contributing to the overall reduction in child mortality by 36 per cent and infant mortality by 31 per cent. The minister called on Kenyans not to relax in the war against the disease. She appealed to households to embrace the use of mosquito nets.
The government is aiming at distributing 10.6 million nets to more than 21 million Kenyans. Nyanza, Western and parts of Rift Valley have already benefited from the exercise.
In her speech read by Msambweni MP Omar Zonga during the World Malaria Day celebration in Msambweni, the minister said the government is committed to achieving global targets in the fight against malaria.
She said effective malaria control is a viable investment in the health sector and greatly contributes towards the attainment of the millennium development goals.
National head of divisional malaria control John Logedi called upon stakeholders and private institutions to work closely with the government to keep Kenya malaria free.
"We have achieved a reduction in malaria prevalence. However, we still need to invest in malaria control," Logedi said. Coast provincial director of public health Anisa Omar said a number of Kenyans do not sleep under nets but instead use the nets for fishing and other purposes.
"Let's all sleep under the net all the times, all nights, all the seasons and keep away from myths and seeking treatment from traditional healers," Omar said.
World Health Organisation representative Rex Mpazanje urged the government to invest more in fighting malaria and ensure a sustainable increase in funding for malaria control.