Malaria in Kenya

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Malaria is a severe health problem in Kenya as it is the leading cause of mortality in the country. It is a problem in most of Kenya except the city of Nairobi and it is estimated that approximately 25 out of the 34 million people living in the country are at risk of catching the deadly disease. Around 20% of the admissions to hospitals are malaria related.

Malaria tablets are recommended if you are travelling to Kenya in most areas of the country except for Nairobi and the highland regions that are above 2500m. This area is in the Central eastern Nyanza province. There are frequent epidemics throughout the year especially in the rainy season, which occurs around April because mosquitoes thrive in moist weather. The country contains 4 of the species of parasite that cause malaria and therefore prophylaxis and insect protection methods are recommended.

Usually, Mefloquine, Malarone or Doxycycline will be prescribed if you are travelling to Kenya, as they are the most effective tablets for that particular region. Mefloquine must be used once weekly at the dosage of 250mg for two weeks before, during and four weeks after you return from Kenya. Malarone is different and must be used daily, two days before departure, during and for one week after. It is imperative that you complete the full course of malaria tablets because if you have been infected and do not complete the course, you give the parasite a chance to cause malaria.

Insect protection measures should also be used so if you are not sleeping in an air-conditioned room, you will need to sleep with a mosquito net. Use insect spray and repellents and wear long sleeved loose clothes especially at dusk until dawn.

There is a malaria strategy in place for Kenya that hopes to decrease the number of malaria incidences. This programme is called the Kenyan National Malaria strategy and it was launched in 2009 in the hope that the numbers of malaria cases will decrease by 30% by the year 2017. This is helped along by the issuing of mosquito nets and residual spraying of homes.

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