KENYA — Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, Nakhumicha S. Wafula, recently spearheaded a crucial meeting with the Mass Net Distribution Campaign Steering Committee to prepare for this year’s long-lasting insecticidal net (LLIN) distribution campaigns.

Scheduled to commence on November 17, 2023, in Homa Bay County, the purpose of this meeting was to strategize for the 2023/24 LLINs Distribution Campaign.

LLINs, serving as a pivotal primary prevention tool, have been widely embraced by individuals at risk of malaria and have exhibited remarkable effectiveness in reducing the malaria burden over the past decade.

A testament to their impact, the Kenya Malaria Indicator Survey conducted in 2015 and 2020 showed significant progress in the fight against malaria, with LLIN distribution to communities playing a crucial role.

The survey revealed that the distribution of LLINs led to a considerable reduction in malaria prevalence, with rates decreasing from 8% to 6% nationwide in 2015 and 2020, respectively.

The LLINs distribution campaign also plays a pivotal role in Kenya’s Ministry of Health’s ongoing battle against malaria and its commitment to universal health coverage. The recent enactment of the UHC bill into law provides an additional boost to this endeavor.

The ministry’s objective is to extend the reach of LLINs to households in high-risk regions, contributing significantly to the well-being of the Kenyan population.

The 2023/24 LLINs Distribution Campaign has set an ambitious target of distributing 15.3 million LLINs across 22 at-risk counties.

This campaign’s feasibility is attributed to the support of key partners, including the Global Fund (GF), which is procuring and delivering 10.9 million nets, and the USAID President’s Malaria Effort (PMI), providing 4.1 million nets.

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) and Mission for Essential Drugs (MEDS) have been entrusted with the critical responsibility of ensuring the last-mile distribution to the intended beneficiaries.

Despite resource constraints that have posed challenges to the ministry’s distribution goals, this campaign underscores the government’s unwavering dedication to malaria control and public health.

This meeting follows up on the previous one held on Machakos Saturday, September 2, 2023, where the Ministry, in collaboration with Development Partners, conducted a comprehensive two-day training of National Trainers of Trainers (ToTs) for the LLINs Distribution Campaign 2023/24, set to commence in November.

During this workshop, the Multi-Agency National Trainers provided counties and sub-counties with training on micro-planning, household registration, and net distribution.

This year’s campaign will leverage digitization to mitigate operational risks and enhance efficiency.

Kenya adopted the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation in 2012 to achieve and sustain universal coverage through mass LLIN distribution campaigns held once every three years.

To ensure universal coverage, WHO advises that countries employ a combination of mass-free distributions and continuous distributions through various channels, particularly antenatal and immunization services.

This training sets the stage for a series of actions that will culminate in the distribution of approximately 18 million nets across 28 high-risk counties.

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