Prevention and surveillance are key factors in the eradication of malaria within the East African Region, Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe, who also doubles up as the Chair of the EAC Health Ministers Sectoral Council had said.
Speaking during the first Great Lakes Malaria Initiative meeting at Kigali, Rwanda, Kagwe challenged the East African Community states to integrate new technology to help in the fight against the disease.
“As we grapple with our sorry situation, elsewhere, a study by WHO showed that the South-East Asian Regions known as The Mekong Region, comprising Cambodia, China (Yunnan Province), Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam reported outstanding progress as the reported number of malaria cases in six countries fell by 97 percent between 2000 and 2020,” Observed the health CS.
According to the CS, Mekong area had reported a 99 percent drop in fatalities from malaria in the period despite the threat of the antimalarial drug resistance in the region.
“What worked for this region is that they prioritized prevention and Surveillance to accelerate malaria elimination. They employed techniques such as Mapping the private sector, Comprehensive training and routine supervision to ensure high-quality malaria care and data reporting,” said Kagwe.
Kagwe however expressed optimism, saying East Africa was likely to benefit from ongoing interventions such as adequate allocation of resources, commitment and the political will from the community as a Regional economic bloc.
He urged the East African community as a whole to support collective efforts by ensuring the availability of sustained funding, collection of surveillance data and community engagement through the involvement and participation of the private sector.
He gave Kenya as an example where President Uhuru Kenyatta, who also serves as the Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance has allocated Sh5 billion toward the regional fight against malaria.
The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has also developed a malaria rapid Diagnostic Test kit which will be launched before the end of 2021.