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Health CS warns Counties against medicine procurement

23 April 2014, 16:31 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – Health Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia has cautioned county governments against procuring medicines noting that the move will pave way for massive sale of harmful counterfeit drugs in the nation.

Macharia noted that drug procurement should be left to the national government to curb the exposure of the country to death risks and corruption.

“The issue to do with medicine provision and consumption is between life and death. Counties should leave the mandate to the national government in procurement to ensure that there is no distribution of harmful counterfeit drugs,” said Macharia.

Addressing Health stakeholders and partners ahead of World Malaria Day dubbed ‘Invest in the future: Defeat Malaria’ scheduled for April 25, 2014, the CS reiterated that malaria affects children and contributes significantly to infant and child mortality rates in addition to high maternal mortality rates. He added that the disease generally impacts on all socio-economic sectors including education, tourism, agriculture and manufacturing among others.

“Malaria control requires enormous resources which would otherwise grow the economy and spur development. As we commemorate this year's World Malaria Day, we have developed county epidemiological profiles to guide county health authorities on what to invest in, provided effective quality treatment at no cost in all public and faith-based health facilities across the country and highly subsidized malaria medicines in private sector,” stated Macharia.

The CS further said his ministry has incorporated malaria treatment as part of Community Case Management that has expanded access to effective treatment and encouraged communities to participate in their own health affairs, distributed about 10.6 million mosquito nets to households in prone areas to protect over 22 million people from malaria.

“In addition to the bed nets distributed to households, a total of 6.9 million mosquito nets were distributed to children below one year of age and pregnant women over the last fours years through the maternal and child welfare clinics in endemic and epidemic areas on a routine basis,” noted the Health CS.

“Net ownership stands at 83.3%, however, net use is low at 32%. I am urging the communities to use the nets as this intervention has been proven to dramatically reduce the burden of malaria,” he added.

Macharia noted that measures implemented by his ministry in controlling malaria among other diseases has helped reduce 50% of illness and deaths attributed to malaria in all counties especially among young children by between 44% and 52% thus reducing child mortality by 36% and infant mortality by 31%.

Moreover, the CS stated that parasite prevalence in most parts of the country has reduced to less than 5% but concern of high prevalence of over 38% remains in counties around Lake Victoria basin and that much advocacy is needed to address the matter.

“We therefore need to re-engineer the approaches for advocacy, social behavior change communication and social mobilization to further leverage on the scaling up of malaria control measures,” said Macharia.

He appealed to the media and communication agencies to use their comparative advantage of reaching out to communities with relevant and accurate information that will lead to positive behavior change for maximum impact.

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