If you want to walk fast, walk alone
If you want to walk far, walk togetherÂ (Maasai Proverb)
Walking together in partnership was the theme of the launching, held last night, of Kenyaâ€™s second national malaria strategy covering the years 2009-2017.Â Officials from the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation acknowledged throughout the ceremony the value ofÂ partnership with the donor, research and civil society communities.
The document had been one year in the making and is accompanied by the Kenya Malaria Monitoring and Evaluation Plan for the same years. Dr Elizabeth Juma, who heads the Division of Malarial Control explained that the two documents are based on an extensive Malaria Program Performance Review, so that it is not a theoretical exercise.
In his keynote address Dr. James Gesami, the Assistant Minister for Public Health and Sanitation, reported that Kenya has made substantial progress in reducing child mortality and hospital admissions for malaria by to date distributing 90 million nets, prescribing 41 million doses of ACTs and protecting 8 million people in targeted areas with IRS.
A new feature of the strategic plan is to make future targeting of these interventions more epidemiologically appropriate based on a new map of malaria prevalence across the country. Dr Gesami said we have fallen short in the past of adequate documentation. Therefore, M&E is intended an a strong companion to the Strategy so that intervention can be monitored and impact measured.
Partnership at all levels was seen as the way to achieve the goals of the new strategy – involvement is needed of the public health sector, the private health sector, civil society, research institutions, donors, the communities and other public and private sector agencies such as agriculture and education. An example of the latter is the malaria free schools initiative enshrined in the Strategy. In short, â€œMalaria control is not the preserve of the Health Ministries, but is the responsibility of all of us.â€
Speakers acknowledged that there are areas where past performance could be better, such as providing Intermittent Preventive Treatment to pregnant woman. There was hope though that the Strategy will guarantee a uniformity of purpose among all partners to achieve targets and result in a malaria free Kenya by 2017.