FIGHTING DISEASE

Government to use drone technology in tackling malaria

Drones to spray mosquito breeding sites around the Lake Basin in Western Kenya.

In Summary

• Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe said the plan will see the country develop more advanced techniques to aid the fight for malaria.

• The drone project is ready, waiting for approvals for the larvacides before it kicks off in the western and former Nyanza region and might start anytime soon.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe during a presser at Radisson Blue Hotel in Nairobi on June 25, 2021. Photo/MARGARET WANJIRU
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe during a presser at Radisson Blue Hotel in Nairobi on June 25, 2021. Photo/MARGARET WANJIRU

The Ministry of Health has partnered with SC Johnson, East African Community and Society for Family Health to use drones to spray mosquito breeding sites around the Lake Basin in Western Kenya.

Speaking during the launch Friday, Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe said the plan will see the country develop more advanced techniques to aid the fight for malaria.

“I am happy to note that our recently constituted End Malaria Council, working with the private sector has plans to deploy drones to spray mosquito breeding sites,” he said.

CS Kagwe said the country has had to look at how other nations dealt with malaria and also tackling the challenge holistically, from the source to primary healthcare.

The chairman of the End Malaria Council Chris Gitonga said the private sector will work together with the government to holistically fight malaria.

Society for Family Health Executive Director Manasseh Gihana, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, EAC Secretariat Stephen Niyonzima during the launch of the Great Lakes 2021 -2025 strategic plan on June 25, 2021. The plan will address cross border transmission of Malaria in the great lakes region which comprise border areas of the 6 EAC countries and the DRC. Photo/MARGARET WANJIRU
Society for Family Health Executive Director Manasseh Gihana, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, EAC Secretariat Stephen Niyonzima during the launch of the Great Lakes 2021 -2025 strategic plan on June 25, 2021. The plan will address cross border transmission of Malaria in the great lakes region which comprise border areas of the 6 EAC countries and the DRC. Photo/MARGARET WANJIRU

“Prevention is better than cure if we are able to go to the source, using larvacides and we already have some that have been tested, and using drones instead of a person going around spraying, a drone can spray between 100 to 150 acres per day,” Gitonga said.

The drone project is ready, waiting for approvals for the larvacides before it kicks off in the western and former Nyanza region and might start anytime soon.

The drones will mostly target borders with a lot of population movement, to secure the East African partner states.

While using drone technology, the Ministry is also donating free mosquito nets in areas with a high prevalence rate.

This weekend, Dr Willis Akhwale, the President’s advisor from the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA)   will oversee the donation of 15 million mosquito nets in Bungoma and Kakamega.

The first-ever malaria vaccine has already been launched in the country with approximately 250,000 children receiving three doses and waiting for the fourth dose.

Dr Akhwale said counties have a dashboard to monitor the prevalence rate of malaria to acquire statistics of how well the strategies are working.

Nandi County has had a spike in malaria cases but a team has been deployed on the ground to work on the same.