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Children called to be malaria control envoys

30 September 2013, 18:59 Bob Ndwiga

Kilifi - Malaria infections among the residents of Kilifi County could be largely reduced by involving schools in projects to fight mosquito breeding, volunteers campaigning against the disease have said.

The volunteers drawn from the Malindi Mosquito and Malaria Control Association said that studies carried out by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) had indicated that educating pupils and students to maintain environmental cleanliness at school and at home reduced mosquito breeding.

Speaking at the Christ the King Baptist Church Hall during a drama competition over the weekend, the chairman of the organisation, Dickson Chilango, said that involvement of schools in malaria control had shown great success in reducing malaria across the County.

The organisation dubbed Punguza Malaria Malindi (PUMMA), Chilango said that they launched Mosquito and Malaria Control Clubs in 11 schools in an effort to involve the youth in the fight against Malaria last year.

He said that following the launch of the clubs in the 11 schools, at least 15 000 pupils in the institutions have learnt the dangers of malaria and also participated in efforts to eradicate mosquitoes at school and at home.

Chilango said that before the launch of the project, the organisation involved experts and mosquito scouts in various educational talks on how to destroy mosquito breeding areas and also to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

“We organised major educational campaigns across the schools we choose to work with and by the time the institutions formed the clubs, the pupils had been fully informed about the disease and how to avoid it,” said Chilango.

The organisation has established 32 cells within which education talks are held on a weekly and monthly basis in both primary and secondary schools in Kilifi County, noted Chilango.

Chilango, whose organisation has worked in the Kilifi County for the last 11 years providing KEMRI with some of the most reliable data on the habit of the malaria spreading mosquitoes, said that children and youth remained the best channels of fighting diseases like malaria.

“The children also encourage their parents to acquire pesticides to reduce mosquitoes at the household level as well as use of mosquito bed nets,” said Chilango noting that pupils in the various clubs had become mosquitoes and malaria control envoys.

Clubs from the 11 schools presented various plays, poems and dances mainly touching on issues related to mosquitoes and malaria. Some of the poems, songs and dances discussed ways and means of fighting the spread of malaria.

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