Ecobank Kenya has unveiled an anti-malaria drive to lower mortality from the disease in Kisumu County.
Over 1,000 households will benefit from insecticide treated nets (ITNs) distributed by the bank in the campaign dubbed “Stop Malaria Now”. Another 600 homes will benefit from indoor residual spraying to curb mosquito breeding.
Ecobank Kenya Executive Director Tom Ndalo said the campaign was part of a partnership between the bank and OGRA Foundation; a Kenyan based Non-Governmental Organization in greater Western Kenya focusing on community mobilization and sensitization around malaria prevention and control.
Ecobank Kenya Executive Director Tom Ndalo (Left) presents an insecticide treated net to a Kisumu resident when the bank unveiled an anti-malaria drive to lower mortality from the disease in the County. Looking on is Governor Jack Ranguma.
“The campaign is targeting the most vulnerable groups including children under the age of five years who have not yet developed immunity to malaria and pregnant women whose immunity has been reduced by pregnancy,” said Ndalo.
He was speaking at the Jaramogi Oginga Teaching and Referral Hospital at an event attended by Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma.
On his part, Ranguma said malaria remains a major public health challenge in the lakeside region and welcomed the gesture by Ecobank. “I wish to thank Ecobank for stepping in to help in reducing the mortality attributable to malaria in the county,” said the Governor.
Ecobank will also install two mosquito repelling air conditioners in the children’s wards in Kisumu District and Jaramogi Oginga Teaching and Referral hospitals.
The air conditioners emit ultrasonic waves that disrupt the mosquito’s sensory cells and cause paralysis, confusion and often death. Developed by LG Electronics, this new technology is completely harmless to humans and represents a clean, safe alternative to insecticides and repellants.
The campaign will offer free education on malaria prevention methods to the locals as well as encourage them to visit health facilities. High mortality rates from malaria have been linked to low use of mosquito nets and failure to seek medical attention on time.
Malaria remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Kenya, especially among the poor and vulnerable groups. Even though the disease is preventable, it is responsible for 30%of outpatient consultation cases, 19% of hospital admissions and 3- 5%of inpatient deaths.
Ndalo added: “This is in line with this year’s Ecobank day theme which is ‘Malaria prevention and control in Sub-Saharan Africa. The spirit of Ecobank is about giving back to communities where we operate. This is an integral part of the bank’s efforts to make Africa a better place.”
Kisumu County which falls in the Lake endemic zone has a prevalence rate of 38% as per the Kenya Malaria Indicator Survey (KMIS 2010).
“We are glad that Ecobank has recognized the core intervention areas recommended by World Health Organization in terms of vector control by providing ITNs and conducting residual spraying under this campaign. This will greatly boost our efforts in curbing malaria spread in Kisumu County,” said Mr. Gabriel Amolo, Executive Director OGRA Foundation.
Last year, during the Ecobank Day, the bank carried out free cancer screening in Kisumu and other parts of the country to sensitize the public on the effects of cancer – a leading cause of death in Kenya but with low awareness.