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President Kenyatta joins World leaders in marking World Malaria Day

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged world leaders not to lose track of the collective war against other diseases that continue to cause human suffering around the world.

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Uhuru says even as the world rolls out measures to contain the spread of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, curbing the spread of other diseases is equally important.

“Today, the 25th day of April 2020, we mark this year’s World Malaria Day. The World Malaria Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made in the fight against Malaria even as we continue implementing interventions to end the disease in Africa by the year 2030.” He said.

Uhuru says Malaria continues to ravage communities in African, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 93% of the global malaria cases.

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As a matter of fact, malaria is the leading cause of hospital visits in many African Countries which exerts unbearable financial pressure on households.

Global malaria statistics indicate that in the year 2000, approximately 839,000 deaths were as a result of Malaria infections. In the last 10 years however, through increased resourcing, the world has been able to cut these deaths by 50%, an indication that Malaria can actually be defeated.

The President says, “In Kenya, we have been able to significantly lower Malaria prevalence from a high of 6 million infections to 4.6 million over the last ten years. This progress is largely a result of support and cooperation between the Government, development partners and our frontline health providers such as doctors, nurses and other cadres of our gallant medical personnel.”

He has now called on African Countries to continue to proactively implement programs aimed at lowering the prevalence of Malaria on the continent with the ultimate goal of wiping out the disease by the year 2030.

Uhuru said the Covid-19 pandemic is a hurdle that risks stalling or at worst, rolling back the gains Countries have made in the fight against malaria in Africa saying the pressure the pandemic has put on health systems, if not well managed, has the potential to disrupt provision of not only Malaria services but also other important healthcare interventions.

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“As we confront this new global health challenge, we are required to strike a balance between our response to Covid-19 and sustaining our efforts against existing health threats such as malaria. Failing to do so risks creating a situation where an upsurge in malaria cases could overwhelm our already overburdened health systems.” He said.

Uhuru called for the strengthening of health systems especially at the sub-national and community levels by considering an integrated approach to managing the Covid-19 whereby malaria services are offered as part of the essential health package.

He said the Government will continue to scale up malaria prevention efforts through the distribution of over 15 million treated mosquito nets this year to cover 25 million vulnerable Kenyans even as we heighten our Covid-19 response.

“In my capacity as the Chairperson of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), I reaffirm my commitment to continue working together with my colleagues, African Heads of State and Government, and other stakeholders in mobilizing resources needed to defeat Malaria on our continent.” He said.

Uhuru said ALMA will now focus on the protection of the gains made in malaria control through prevention, treatment, and the roll out of interventions such as the malaria vaccine which is under phased implementation in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi.

The African Leaders Malaria Alliance also intends to boost Africa’s purchasing power and local manufacturing of critical medical supplies through regional partnerships and collaborations, as well as increase the engagement of our youth, “Malaria Army”, in the deployment of interventions in offering community service, surveillance, health education and advocacy.

“In line with this year’s World Malaria Day theme of, “Zero malaria starts with me, you, all of us”, we are all called upon to play our part in maintaining our own health and that of our communities.” Uhuru said.

 



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