4 May 2018

Kenya: Malaria Crisis Looms as Floods Continue Destruction Unabated

Photo: Laban Walloga/Daily Nation
Flooded houses in Kadzandani, Nyali constituency, Mombasa County, in a picture taken on May 6, 2018.

In addition to the devastating floods and landslides as a result of the ongoing heavy rains, there is an even deadlier danger: The prevailing environment is conducive for the breeding of mosquitoes that transmit malaria.

Hospital wards are jammed with malaria patients.

Efforts to combat the disease are overwhelmed by drug-resistant strains, posing a life-threatening challenge.

The anti-malaria war is further hampered by lack of awareness and appropriate drugs for individual cases, as well as poor regulatory frameworks.

ERADICATION

At much risk are expectant mothers, who can also pass the disease to their unborn children, as well as HIV/Aids patients and children under five years, who haven't yet built immunity to the parasites.

Malaria is the leading cause of child deaths in Kenya with 3.5 million children at risk every year.

In this case, Kenya is fifth in Africa, which bears the brunt of the lethal disease at 90 per cent prevalence.

Kenya should take a leaf from West and Central Africa, whose new technique, the seasonal malaria chemoprevention, has reduced malaria cases by 75 per cent in some parts.

Health workers are sent to the field to give four doses of anti-malaria drugs to children under five whenever the rains set in.

Just as the polio and measles drugs are administered in Kenya, the malaria ones should be free.

MARGARET MINAGE, Kiambu.

* * *It is self-defeating for the national and county governments to continue paying lip service to disaster preparedness while devastating rains pound the country.

Officers at both levels must address the effects of torrential rains -- such as floods and landslides.

JOSEPH G. MUTHAMA, Kiambu.

* * *It is taking too long for the national and county governments to address the damage by the rains.

What steps are the establishments taking to mitigate the suffering of Kenyans who have been displaced and are crying for help?

JERRY KENYANSA, Nairobi.

* * *Mombasa has been experiencing heavy downpours and flooding, which is of our own making.

We cannot blame the rains when we build on wetlands and waterways. Let us respect nature.

JUSTIN N. NKARANGA, Mombasa.

* * *We need to stop blaming drivers for road deaths during the rains.

Contractors should ensure that, when building roads, there is drainage infrastructure to reduce cases of death and destruction of property due to floods.

SHARON WANGARI, Machakos.

* * *The ongoing heavy rainfall is, instead of helping crops to grow, destroying them.

Most small- and large-scale farmers rely on rain but it mustn't exceed a certain limit.

County governments should educate local farmers on the right crops to plant to avoid such losses.

MERCY NDARU, Embu.

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