Making a Difference in Malaria Control through Surveillance
NAIROBI, Kenya—In Kenya, the national malaria strategy and the government’s Kenya Vision 2030: First Medium-Term Plan both highlight the need to combat malaria, in part through stronger surveillance of the disease and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems to track key indicators of disease prevalence.
In support of the government’s efforts, MEASURE Evaluation-PIMA (MEval-PIMA), funded by USAID/PMI, developed a comprehensive malaria surveillance training package and a roll-out plan for malaria surveillance in the country. To date, MEval-PIMA has supported training of 40 Training of Trainers (ToTs) and 649 health workers in four malaria-endemic counties (Migori, Homabay, Kisumu, and Kakamega) since March 2015.
Timely recording, analysis, interpretation and sharing of data, as well as the testing, treatment, and tracking of malaria, are among the skills that participants learn during trainings.
“The training was quite relevant, says Mr. Collins Oluoch, a pharmacist from Kombewa County Hospital in Seme Sub County, Kisumu, who participated in one of the sessions. “I also learnt how to analyze data and interpret the trends. This is very helpful in detecting whether malaria is endemic in an area.”
“This being the rainy season, we expect to receive more patients, especially in the evenings. We usually have 10 to 20 patients diagnosed with malaria hospitalized daily between April and June,” adds Collins.
Those numbers are down from five years ago. To illustrate the trend, Mr. Moses Otieno, a lab technologist and also a beneficiary of the training, showed his records that demonstrate the reduction of numbers.
“In July 2010 we had about 2,200 positive malaria tests, with 718 being children under five years. One year later, we had 1,700 positive malaria tests, with 301 being children under five. Today, we have 758 positive malaria tests,” says Mr. Otieno.
The Ministry of Health corroborates the reduction of malaria cases. During national World Malaria Day celebrations, Mr. James Macharia, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of Health, reported “Kenya is seeing the fruits of our efforts in malaria control.”
“It is hoped this kind of investment in malaria surveillance training of health workers, together with other key interventions – including public education on the uptake of interventions, distribution of nets, procurement of commodities, and diagnostic kits – will help Kenya meet its vision of having a malaria-free generation,” says Edward Kunyanga, Project Director for MEval-PIMA.
MEval-PIMA is a five-year project to support the Kenyan Government to build sustainable M&E capacity to use evidence-based decisions to improve the effectiveness of the Kenyan health system. For more on MEval-PIMA support to the national malaria control program in Kenya see: http://www.cpc.unc.edu/measure/pima/malaria.