Source – Daily Nation
By JOY WANJA
January 29, 2011
Pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa remain at risk of malaria due to poor use of treated mosquito nets.
According to a study published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal insecticide-treated nets are not being fully utilised to protect pregnant women from malaria.
However, Prof Bob Snow of the Malaria Public Health and Epidemiology Group at the Kemri-Wellcome Trust Research Programme noted that Kenya had made considerable progress to contain the disease among vulnerable groups.
“Kenya had commendably begun implementing the distribution of insecticide treated nets to pregnant women and children under five through maternal and child health clinics,” added Ms Viola Kirui, a researcher at the Kemri-Wellcome Trust.
She added: “We however need to scale up these efforts if we intend to meet and surpass the targets set in the new Kenyan National Malaria Strategy.”
The researchers further noted that a decade after the Abuja declaration to cut Africa’s malaria burden, majority of endemic countries in sub-Sahara Africa had adopted the use of treated nets and preventive treatment.
As a preventive measure, an effective anti-malarial drug should be provided to pregnant women in highly endemic malaria zones as a routine part of antenatal care.
Threat to children
In Kenya, 92 children under the age of five contract malaria every day. The 2008/2009 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey indicates mortality for under-five-year-olds declined by 36 per cent since 2003.
In many parts of the world, malaria parasites have developed resistance to a number of medicines, necessitating more stringent measures to deal with the disease.