Twenty-two of Kenya’s 47 counties that are classified as high-burden will receive 15.3 million bed nets, distributed by the Ministry of Health and US President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund.
The counties are grouped into five five clusters: One includes Kisumu, Siaya, Busia, Migori, Kisii and Nyamira; Cluster Two has Lamu, Kilifi, Tana River, Kwale, Taita Taveta and Mombasa; while Cluster Three consists of Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga and Homa Bay.
Cluster four includes West Pokot, Turkana and Trans Nzoia while Cluster Five is made up of Narok, Baringo and Kirinyaga.
Health Ministry also said the 2023/2024 mass net distribution campaign was launched in Homa Bay County on November 15, 2023, with 830,862 nets distributed, covering 91 percent of registered households.
“Distribution in Kisii County will begin on Wednesday, January 24, 2024, where 941,368 nets will be issued, and distribution in Nyamira County will begin on January 31, during which 449,974 nets will be issued. The Ministry of State has approached the campaign with a different strategy, among them digitisation of the entire process to improve efficiency, effectiveness and accountability at all levels,” Principal Secretary for Public Health Mary Muthoni said Tuesday.
The first mass distribution campaign for universal coverage took place in 2006, when 3.4 million nets were given out, integrated with measles vaccination. This was followed by the 2011-12 campaign, which distributed 10.6 million nets to populations in malaria endemic and epidemic regions.
“Replacement distribution in 2014/ 15 included 13.1 million nets, followed by distribution of 15.1 million nets in 2017/2018 to protect vulnerable populations in the same regions,” Ms Muthoni added, saying the 2020/21 campaign was conducted amid the challenges of Covid-19, with the distribution of approximately 16.2 million nets in 27 districts.
"The distribution of LLINs to households has shown tremendous progress in the fight against malaria, with a significant reduction in malaria prevalence from eight percent to six percent nationally according to the Kenya Malaria Indicator Survey 2015 and 2020," she said.
Therefore, according to Muthoni, to sustain the gains made and further contribute to effective malaria vector control in the country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has embarked on a relentless journey in the fight against malaria, recognising it as a global and local public health concern.
"In Kenya, malaria has placed a heavy burden on the population, with approximately 6.7 million clinical cases and 4,000 deaths reported in 2022. Children under the age of five and pregnant mothers continue to bear the brunt of this preventable disease," she said.
The Ministry of Health also announced that this week, the National Steering Committee and the National Malaria Control Program have started preparing the next six districts for distribution.