Health systems strengthening: Advocacy facilitates availability of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine for prevention of malaria in pregnancy in Kenya

Colleagues[1] from Jhpiego’s Kenya office and the Ministry of Health are presenting a poster at the 64th ASTMH Annual Meeting in Philadelphia at noon on Tuesday 27th October 2015. Please stop by Poster LB-5225 and discuss the results as presented in the Abstract below.

Kenya PfIn malaria endemic areas, infection with malaria during pregnancy is often associated with poor pregnancy outcomes. Although effective intervention measures are available including use of sulfadoxine pyrimethamine (SP) for intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) coverage rates have remained low.

In Kenya, IPTp2 is at 38% in malaria endemic counties some of the key factors influencing IPTp uptake being SP stock-outs. The national government has been supplying SP but on devolution of health services to county governments it became the responsibility of the counties. There are many competing financial demands at county level and SP stock out is frequent.

ANC KenyaIn February 2015 the national government disseminated a memo to county governments advising them to procure SP to avert the worsening SP stock out situation. After issuance of the memo, USAID’S flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) held discussions with the County Directors of Health (CDHs) and shared the quantification formula for SP requirement for the respective counties.

MCSP advocated for procurement of SP especially during the peak malaria transmission period May-August 2015. The CDHs on realizing the cost was not high made immediate arrangements for procurement of SP.

Bungoma County procured enough SP tablets to cover the peak malaria transmission season and distributed them to the health facilities. Results on analysed ANC data from facilities showed that the number of pregnant women accessing IPTp had reduced from 7,845 in October 2014 to 3,856 in February 2015.

IPTp coverageOne month after procurement and distribution of SP, the number accessing SP increased from 3,856 to 6,769. To improve pregnancy outcomes in malaria endemic areas it is vital to reduce the effects of malaria during pregnancy. Use of IPTp-SP during pregnancy has been shown to improve pregnancy outcomes however, coverage rates of the intervention have remained below the national target due to several influencing factors like the SP stock-out situation experienced in Kenya.

The use of advocacy with relevant authorities in Bungoma County leading to improvement in the SP stock out situation is considered a best practice in ensuring health commodity security and is being replicated in other malaria endemic counties.

[1] Augustine M. Ngindu, Gathari G. Ndirangu, Wekesa Kubasu, Isaac M. Malonza

 

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