•Last year, the PMI spent Sh4.1 billion on malaria activities in Kenya.
•The WHO 2022 report released last year showed that malaria cases in the country have continued to rise, with 3,419,698 cases having been recorded in 2021 up from 3,302,189 cases the previous year.
The government says Kenya has only half of the money it needs to eliminate malaria in the next seven years.
However, there is little government investment and most of the money comes through donor agencies such as Global Fund and the US President’s Malaria Initiative.
Health PS Josephine Mburu said external funding from donors is either stagnating or declining yet the needs are increasing.
“The financing needs for malaria prevention, control, and elimination are significant. As a country, we must urgently address our financial resource gap, which currently stands at 50 per cent of the resources required to fully implement the Kenya Malaria Strategic Plan,” she said.
For instance, Kenya Malaria Elimination Implementation Plan2019—2023 roughly estimated Kenya needed Sh61.92 billion to fight malaria within that time, but only Sh37.81 billion was available.
Last year, the PMI spent Sh4.1 billion on malaria activities in Kenya.
Mburu commended the End Malaria Council Kenya, a local private sector initiative, for mobilising an additional $1 Million US dollars towards the fight.
PMI resident advisor Dr Mildred Shieshia noted the US government spends about Sh81 billion in total health funding to Kenya each year.
The money goes to HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other disease threats.
“PMI invests in procurement and distribution of life saving antimalarial medicines, test kits, insecticide treated nets and provides technical and operational assistance to the national and county governments,” she noted.
PMI funded the first ever Kenya Malaria Behaviour Survey (MBS), its supporting communications strategy, and the Kenya Malaria Elimination Plan.
“The survey identified cultural, economic, gender, and psychosocial barriers that individuals, communities, and health care workers face that prevent them optimizing utilization of malaria diagnosis and treatment,” she said.
Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, the WHO Country Representative in Kenya, noted that whereas the global malaria mortality rates reduced between 2000 and 2021, the rate of decline has been very slow.
She called on donors to increase funding, including financing the new vaccines.
“WHO is aware of the new innovation - the new R21 malaria vaccine as a potential vaccine of public health importance, and awaits the expert review processes before a WHO recommendation can be made,” he said.
Diallo noted that even though Kenya continues to make great strides in the fight against malaria, there are new challenges that are threatening to blunt the country’s successes.
He said the emergence of invasive malaria mosquitos such as the Anopheles stephensii vector, which was discovered in Marsabit, Moyale, and Turkana region is another emerging threat.
This is due to the fact that the mosquito transmits malaria with very high competence and thrives in urban habitats hence the increased risk to urban populations.
The WHO 2022 report released last year showed that malaria cases in the country have continued to rise, with 3,419,698 cases having been recorded in 2021 up from 3,302,189 cases the previous year.
The report further showed that deaths from malaria also rose to 12,011 in 2021, up from 11,768 in 2020.
According to the report, Kenya accounted for 1.3 percent of all malaria cases globally in 2021, a rise from 1.1 percent the previous year but accounted for 1.9 percent of deaths globally in 2021, a decrease from 2 percent in 2020.
Each minute a child dies from malaria in the country and the disease remains a major public health problem in Kenya.
Due to altitude, rainfall patterns, and temperature, it is estimated that about 70 percent of the Kenyan population is at risk for malaria.
Besides being the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the country, the disease is listed among the top 10 causes of outpatient visits countrywide.
The disease burden, however, remains the highest in counties In the Lake region accounting for 70 percent of the cases nationally.