PREVENTION

BETTY JUMA: Good governance key to campaign against malaria

This ensures the disease is fought at the grassroots level

In Summary

•County governments such as Kakamega, Kisumu and Siaya which are malaria-endemic have put in place strong primary health care systems.

•The counties that have an active governance strategy to health programmes will see improvements in antenatal care visits, testing and treatment for diseases like HIV, Malaria, and child immunizations.

A woman demonstrates how to use mosquito nets
WORLD MALARIA DAY: A woman demonstrates how to use mosquito nets
Image: /FILE

The “Zero malaria starts with me” was the rallying call for World Malaria Day 2021.

The slogan was designed to keep malaria initiatives on the political agenda, mobilise resources by making the message more personal, and impress on communities and individuals to take ownership of certain aspects of malaria prevention.

The fact that various initiatives are being launched at the community level goes a long way to show the integral role that the county governments play when it comes to achieving UHC.

This requires that county governments offer support to actualise the strategies including strengthening legal frameworks and legislation to support the delivery of community health services at subcounty and ward levels.

The right policies being formulated will see increased and sustainable financing for community health thereby strengthening the delivery of quality community health services.

The launching of initiatives such as the Community Health Units for Universal Health Coverage platform strengthens individuals, households and communities.

This ensures that malaria is fought at the grassroots level. It may be the only way that Kenya will achieve UHC and zero malaria.

The strategy involves Community Health Volunteers making home visits and delivering health promotion messages, treating common ailments and illnesses, and also establishing protocols for Community-Based Maternal and Newborn Health.

This design requires all players in the county governments to take up a role where proper governance and management will ensure the success of the programmes.

Various county governments have tried to improve human resources for community health, increase financing of community health making better health outcomes in communities through improved coordination in leadership.

This will see to it that the implemented and audited malaria control programmes are assisted in the development of client corporate policy and standards around malaria for a long period even after a country is declared malaria-free.

County governments such as Kakamega, Kisumu and Siaya which are malaria-endemic have put in place strong primary healthcare systems.

However, they need to involve good governance that will ensure access to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment services, without financial hardship, for everyone, together with strong community engagement where dedicated networks of volunteer health workers have to detect and treat the disease in remote and hard-to-reach villages.

Although progress in the response to malaria has stalled in the last two years, when Covid-19 emerged as a serious challenge to malaria response nationwide, the government tried to maintain essential health services, including for malaria, while ensuring that communities and health workers are protected from Covid transmission and the CHVs continue making households access nets and antimalarial medicines.

The counties that have an active governance strategy to health programmes will see improvements in antenatal care visits, testing and treatment for diseases like HIV, malaria, and child immunisations.

The writer is a student at Maseno University

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris