Ecobank Kenya has unveiled an anti-malaria drive to lower mortality from the disease in Kisumu County. The drive dubbed â€œStop Malaria Nowâ€ will see over 1,000 households benefit from insecticide treated nets (ITNs) distributed by the bank. Another 600 homes will benefit from indoor residual spraying to curb mosquito breeding.
Ecobank Kenya Executive Director Tom Ndalo said the campaign was part of a partnership between the bank and OGRA Foundation; a Kenyan based Non-Governmental Organization in greater Western Kenya focusing on community mobilization and sensitization around malaria prevention and control.
â€œThe campaign is targeting the most vulnerable groups including children under the age of five years who have not yet developed immunity to malaria and pregnant women whose immunity has been reduced by pregnancy,â€ said Ndalo.
Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma said malaria remains a major public health challenge in the lakeside region and welcomed the gesture by Ecobank.
Ecobank will also install two mosquito repelling air conditioners in the childrenâ€™s wards in Kisumu District and Jaramogi Oginga Teaching and Referral hospitals. The air conditioners emit ultrasonic waves that disrupt the mosquitoâ€™s sensory cells and cause paralysis, confusion and often death. Developed by LG Electronics, this new technology is completely harmless to humans and represents a clean, safe alternative to insecticides and repellants.
The campaign will offer free education on malaria prevention methods to the locals as well as encourage them to visit health facilities. High mortality rates from malaria have been linked to low use of mosquito nets and failure to seek medical attention on time.
Malaria remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Kenya, especially among the poor and vulnerable groups. Even though the disease is preventable, it is responsible for 30%of outpatient consultation cases, 19% of hospital admissions and 3- 5%of inpatient deaths.
Kisumu County which falls in the Lake endemic zone has a prevalence rate of 38% as per the Kenya Malaria Indicator Survey (KMIS 2010).
The campaign is in line with this yearâ€™s Ecobank day theme which is â€˜Malaria prevention and control in Sub-Saharan Africa.