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Kenya Malaria Study Shows One-Third Of Patients Receive ACTs

Just about one-third of people seeking malaria treatment in Kenya received the recommended artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) and some people are being treated with ineffective drugs like chloroquine, which was phased out almost 10 years ago, according to the recently launched 2007 Kenya Malaria Indicator Survey – the country’s “first ever comprehensive malaria study,” the Daily Nation reports (Gathura/Cheboi, 6/30).

Elizabeth Juma, the head of the Division for Malaria Control in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, said the survey focused on children younger than age five because of their vulnerability to the transmission of malaria, Capital News reports. (Karong’o, 6/30).

The survey also found that prescription drugs were being sold over the counter, and it calls on the Pharmacy and Poisons Board to ensure medicines are regulated, according to the Daily Nation. The report also recommends that children presenting with fever be tested for malaria and treated accordingly, “which is bound to raise debate given that most health clinics do not have the facilities and equipment to undertake such tests,” writes the Daily Nation (6/30).

According to Capital News, “[t]he report further indicated that at least 61 percent of Kenyan children do not sleep under Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs), which are recommended for preventing malaria spread.” Juma said efforts to promote the use of bed nets must be scaled up (6/30).

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation reports that Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Director Anthony Kilele said the country needs to increase ITN usage by pregnant women to reach a 60 percent coverage target. “The survey results indicate that areas where two mass net distribution campaigns were conducted reported a higher ITN usage among children under five than areas in which there were no such campaigns,” he said.

Kikele also said the survey showed that up to 30 percent of outpatient health facility visits and 19 percent of admissions to health facilities in Kenya are due to malaria (Kamau/KNA, 6/30).

“The delay in releasing the report was blamed on the post 2007 election crisis,” Capital News writes (6/30).

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