Kenya calls for new efforts to battle malaria

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-10-6 10:29:14

Kenya on Sunday called for new ways to overcome malaria, which remains one of the most deadly diseases in Africa that kills over one million people annually.

The country's Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia said whereas scientists and research institutions have made some strides in the war against malaria, major successes achieved in the fight against the disease are largely due to efforts aimed at killing mosquitoes.

"While progress in the fight against malaria is accelerating, we face a new set of challenges that require us to seek new ways to outsmart this evolving disease," Macharia said.

He was speaking during the opening ceremony of the 1st Pan- African Mosquito Control Association Conference (PAMCA) which has drawn over 150 scientists, researchers and policy makers from across the globe.

"It is also worth noting that targeted attack of mosquitoes is through deployment of insecticides on bed nets or indoor spraying. Unfortunately, mosquitoes are developing resistance to these chemicals while at the same time global funds for their deployment are shrinking," Macharia said.

The conference, the first of its kind, brings together local and international entomologists involved in mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, Rift Valley fever, dengue, yellow fever and Chikungunya among other vector-borne diseases.

Macharia said whereas concerted efforts by various professionals, including entomologists, is critical in the war against mosquitoes, one great challenge faced today remains the dire shortage of entomologists worldwide and across Africa, including the fact that very few African countries have entomology programs at undergraduate university level.

PAMCA President Charles Mbogo said whereas focus has mainly been centered on malaria, there are other emerging mosquito-borne diseases that also need to be focused on.

"Dengue and Chikungunya are two diseases that have surfaced with high statistics especially in Wajir in northern Kenya, and the Kenyan Coast respectively," Mbogo said.

PAMCA was launched in South Africa in October 2013 when Goodwill Ambassador for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the internationally renowned South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, flagged off the organization during a ceremony in Durban.

The association's functions include coordinating the information sharing concerning vector control activities amongst Africans while promoting control of and research on mosquitoes.

Posted in: Africa

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