President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced the launch of Kenya’s Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign, joining the pan-African movement to strengthen local, national, and regional efforts towards a malaria-free Africa. As part of the campaign, individuals, families, communities, as well as political and business leaders will be urged to make a personal commitment to step up the fight against the disease.
The East African nation, which accounts for 3 per cent of global malaria cases, has made significant progress against the disease in recent years. Increased access to malaria prevention tools such as insecticide treated nets and indoor residual spraying have played a key role in Kenya’s malaria control efforts.
In the coming months, the country is planning to distribute over 15 million mosquito nets, bringing the coverage of its citizens to 25 million. Furthermore, 1.8 million Kenyans were protected from malaria through insecticide residual spraying in 2018. The nation is also participating in the world’s first pilot malaria vaccine programme with 65,000 Kenyan children immunized against malaria despite the #Covid-19 pandemic.
Uhuru Kenyatta, Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) declares:
“Significant gains have been made in the battle against malaria and progress needs to be accelerated. As we enter the decade to end malaria, I am committed to ensuring that we accelerate progress and end this ancient scourge. I call on the African community and especially the youth to be leaders in health and in the fight against malaria.”
To kick-off the country’s Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign, the Ministry of Health will scale up the dissemination of public health messages and promote youth engagement in the fight against malaria by developing a network of community malaria youth champions.
The Republic of Kenya has also started the process of establishing an End Malaria Council and Fund, an innovative resource mobilization mechanism to attract contributions from the private sector. Earlier this year, HE President Kenyatta called on African leaders to join him in establishing at least 15 End Malaria Councils and Funds and committed to engage Africa’s regional economic blocs to address key challenges and provide solutions in the fight against malaria.
In line with HE President Kenyatta’s ALMA priorities around digitisation and real time access to malaria-related data at country level, Kenya is also launching their malaria scorecard today. This scorecard allows every citizen of Kenya to understand the malaria situation where they live, empowering them to take action in the context of the Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign.
Her Excellency Amira ElFadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union Commission, says:
“At this time of uncertainty and disruption in the world due to #Covid-19, many have been quick to forget the fatality of malaria in Africa. We are all particularly concerned about severe disruptions to life-saving net campaigns and limited access to antimalarial medicines. If we all emulate the kind of willingness to strengthen advocacy and take action like Kenya, then we can shine a spotlight on the vital importance of sustaining malaria efforts within and outside of a pandemic.”
Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, comments:
“The RBM Partnership stands ready to support the Republic of Kenya in its efforts to reach Zero Malaria. We look forward to continuing the collaboration with the African Leaders Malaria Alliance and their Chair, His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, and to supporting his work to end malaria in Kenya and across the continent. Today, more than ever, zero malaria starts with each and every one of us.”
Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary of ALMA, adds:
“Country leaders play a critical role in making the commitments required to accelerate progress against malaria. The launch of Kenya’s Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign demonstrates incredible leadership, and we hope to see further countries follow Kenya’s lead following His Excellency President Kenyatta’s appointment as Chair of the African Leaders’ Malaria Alliance earlier this year.”
Malaria is a disease which disproportionately affects the African continent, with over 90 per cent of malaria cases and deaths worldwide. To drive down the disease and save lives, Zero Malaria Starts with Me links local and national action by including all members of society in the fight against malaria.
The continent-wide Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign was endorsed by African Union leaders at their 31st Summit in July 2018 in support of the AU goal to end malaria by 2030. The campaign sparks grassroots movement by engaging political leaders at all levels, mobilising resources and funding, and empowering communities to take ownership of malaria efforts and hold leaders accountable in the fight against malaria.
Since then, the pan-African movement has continued to gain momentum, with Kenya becoming 16th country to launch its national Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign.