Kenya Nile Discourse Forum (KNDF) National Chairperson, Rev Joe Asila has encouraged residents of Kakamega County to use bed nets for their intended purposes.
He said this during the free medical camp organized by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala at Bukhungu stadium held on September 22, 2018. Rev Asila took issue that several locals used the nets for fencing their farms.
In Kakamega County, the bed net has helped bring down malaria prevalence from 38 per cent in 2013 to 27 per cent in 2018. However, the KNDF chairperson expressed concern that these gains could be rolled back as residents find other uses for the nets: bridal veils, funeral shrouds, window mesh, soccer balls, ropes, chicken cages and kitchen garden fences are now all made from mosquito nets. Cases of Malaria in Kakamega County are on the rise because locals are not using the treated nets as a weapon against mosquitoes.
Cleophas Malala told participants that he has raised this issue with the county assembly and that it is under legislation. “If you use the nets for fencing farm produce, that might be punishable in the near future,” he said.
Mr. Malala, said the insecticides used on nets to keep away mosquitoes were harmful to the ecosystem and should not be used on farm produce that are meant for consumption or in water as this endangers the life of aquatic animals.
County First Lady, Pricilla Oparanya who also officiated the program, expressed her concern for pregnant mothers, the elderly and children who get infected with malaria.
Mrs. Oparanya explained that Malaria was a prime contributor to death reported in the county.
The County in collaboration with National Malaria Control Program therefore came up with strategies to control the levels of infection
She said that the County has put strategies that will see people use appropriate prevention methods which includes sleeping under treated nets and strengthen advocacy for malaria so that 80 per cent of the county population have knowledge on the same.
“As a result, the County has made much progress over the years as 75 per cent of its populace now sleep under nets. We expect every household by the end of 2018 will have the treated nets,” she added.
The stakeholders in collaboration with Malaria Control Unit plans to issue 100,000 nets to the locals in the county that has a population of approximately 1.3 million.