Kenya: Partnership for the Prevention and Treatment of Malaria
Malaria is the leading killer of children and pregnant women in Kenya, where poverty, poor prevention practices, costly care, and insufficient drug supplies have propelled the disease to endemic and epidemic proportions.In 2008, the five highest-risk districts of the Northern Rift Valley – where HealthRight has worked for over four years – reported almost 400,000 cases of malaria. Deaths due to malaria were as high as 19 percent, and as many as 70 percent of pregnant women lacked access to preventative and curative medications.
In October 2009, HealthRight launched the Partnership for the Prevention and Treatment of Malaria to curb morbidity and mortality from malaria in the five districts of West Pokot, North Pokot, Central Pokot, Trans Nzoia East, and Marakwet. In collaboration with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya, Population Services International, the Kenya NGO Alliance Against Malaria, and private health facilities, HealthRight is working to build the capacity of the local community and health system to promote healthy care seeking behaviors, improve service delivery, and increase access to insecticide-treated nets.
Promoting malaria prevention and care-seeking behaviors
HealthRight is working to spread important malaria messages through a range of channels. Over 1,000 Community Health Workers (CHWs) are being trained to spread prevention and care-seeking messages at the household level. Other activities include training pharmacists to deliver messages to customers and awarding grants to local organizations to design social behavioral change campaigns.
Delivering malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment services
HealthRight is helping DHMTs to train, monitor, and mentor health care providers at hospitals, health centers and dispensaries. HealthRight also aids facilities to improve drug management and inventory control and update data management systems. In high-risk districts such as West Pokot, which suffered two malaria epidemics in 2008, HealthRight is establishing surveillance systems and epidemic preparedness plans.
Increasing distribution of insecticide treated nets
In 2007, less than 50 percent of homes in Kenya had long-lasting insecticide treated nets. Working with Population Services International, HealthRight is distributing bed nets to health care facilities, specifically targeting children and pregnant women. HealthRight also supports CHWs to visit individual households and promote proper usage.
Over three years, the project aims to reach over 500,000 children, pregnant women, and people living in poverty or with HIV/AIDS.