TURKANA’S SEASONAL MALARIA CHEMOPREVENTION PILOT SET TO INFORM NATIONAL POLICY

TURKANA’S SEASONAL MALARIA CHEMOPREVENTION PILOT SET TO INFORM NATIONAL POLICY

Eldoret – 6th May 2024 (Public Communications and Media Relations)

The County Department of Health and Sanitation, in conjunction with the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) and Catholic Relief Services, is set to roll out the country’s first Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) exercise in Turkana Central Sub-county.

Ongoing studies by the County Health Department, Moi, and Duke Universities revealed that in Turkana during the rainy season more than 65% are reported thus making a case for SMC. However, the county has been classified as low seasonal.

The studies further indicated that malaria cases increased drastically during the rainy seasons.

In a high-level meeting with health chief officers and representatives from the county assembly, senior health officers and partners discussed the final plans which included training of the healthcare workers and community health promoters, community engagements, and sensitization ahead of the rollout date set for June 2024.

According to the World Health Organisation, SMC is an administration of a curative dose of antimalarial medicine to children at high risk of seasonal malaria transmission zones, regardless of whether are infected with malaria. Thus, making Turkana County ideal for the pilot.

The upcoming SMC exercise will target the under-five children whereby they will be administered with the drug sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine + amodiaquine, popularly abbreviated to SP+AQ.

“The qualitative and quantitative research has indeed confirmed that SMC is an effective intervention. As envisioned by the National Government to eliminate malaria by 2030, we need tailor-made interventions such as SMC,” said Dr Gilchrist Lokoel, Chief Officer for Medical Services.

Song’ot Ward Member of the County Assembly and Chair of the Health Committee, Hon. Bethwel Kobongin, stated that any intervention that was for the betterment of the people is always welcome.

He also committed to lobby for more allocation of funds for the malaria program. However, he requested the County Health Department and its partners to consider scaling up the exercise to other sub-counties.

“The SMC exercise is solution-oriented which is a step toward to ending malaria in Turkana,” said Cathra Abdi, Chief Officer for Preventive and Promotive.

She urged the implementation team to be inclusive as far as stakeholders were concerned as Turkana can be complex when it comes to drug administration and improve on communication.

Representing the NMCP at the meeting, Paul Rumosia said that the National Ministry of Health’s division is currently reviewing the National Malaria Control Policy and would include SMC as one of the prevention interventions.

He further added that the implementation of the SMC in Turkana would further inform other government policy documents.

The County Malaria Coordinator, David Ekai, informed the participants that the SMC implementation is in five cycles from June to October 2024 to ensure every child is reached.

The CRS representative, Moses Orinda, appreciated the county’s support in the process and assured the participants that their recommendations would be included in the road map to ensure a successful

Other partner representatives were from Catholic Relief Services, Moi and Duke Universities, PATH/PMI, National Malaria Control Program.

TOBONGU LORE

13TH-14TH AUGUST 2024