The Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Health Dr. Rashid Aman, lauded KEMRI for its remarkable contribution in the fight against malaria by conducting research that has seen the invention of a new locally developed and produced Malaria diagnostic tool.
KEMRI developed and launched a Plasmocheck a Malaria Rapid Diagnositic Kit, which is intended for qualitative pathogen detection of the malaria causing parasites. The Kit has since been distributed to the malaria endemic regions including Busia, Siaya among other counties. The kit is an integral part of the zero malaria campaign initiative.
Speaking during the Zero Malaria Campaign Coalition Launch, Dr. Rashid said that the fight against malaria has been given priority by the government which has seen the reduction of malaria cases from 11 % in 2010 to barely 6 % in 2020. He stated that the government is determined to maintain this momentum to end malaria despite the challenges and effects that have been posed by COVID 19. ‘’These achievements are as a result of concerted and sustained efforts and collaboration by the County Governments, local communities, development partners in Health and Global Malaria Community.’’ He said.
In his speech, the CAS, urged the continued use of treated mosquito nets in the endemic regions of the Coastal and Lake Region arears. The Potential vaccine candidate developed by GSK has been tested in several countries around the globe including Kenya has shown promise to be licensed for marketing. In 2019 Kenya pioneered the use of the vaccine in sub counties in the endemic counties and about 275,000 children have received at least one out of the four scheduled doses of the malaria vaccine. The CAS stated that the Ministry has received a positive advisory from the Kenya National Immunization Technical advisory group to expand the use of malaria vaccine within the lake region starting June this year.
Dr. Willis Akhwale who is the Senior Malaria Advisor of the African Leader Malaria Alliance commended KEMRI’s efforts in malaria research and promised to give all the support required to develop Malaria PCR Kits that will be distributed regionally because of its accuracy and convenience in malaria diagnosis.
Dr. Akhwale added that the government is dedicated to catalysing the public engagement, political will and resource mobilization required in the elimination of malaria in Kenya.
The Ag.DG was represented by Prof. Elijah Songok, Director Capacity Building and Research and Research Scientists Dr. Damaris Matoke, Dr. Francis Kimani and their Innovation, technology transfer and Commercial counterparts Dr. Kimotho and Dr. Cecilia Wanjala.