In Kenya, malaria accounts for more than 20% of outpatient visits, 19% of hospital admissions, and 3-5% of hospital deaths and is a leading cause of mortality in children less than 5 years of age.
Prompt, quality assured laboratory diagnosis is key to effective malaria case management and control.
Correct diagnosis of malaria reduces unnecessary treatment helps prevent the development of drug resistance and increases the likelihood of correct treatment for other febrile illnesses.
A key tenet of malaria control is strengthening data collection and analysis capacity, which is also critical for malaria elimination. This contributes to better decisions which drive programme performance and outcomes.
The County Government of Nandi is scaling and sustaining access to prompt malaria diagnosis and effective treatment to the entire population.
Part of the implementation of the malaria strategy has been to strengthen laboratory diagnosis of malaria across all levels of the health care system and in all epidemiological zones within the county.
These efforts has seen the County Government of Nandi named the best overall in National Malaria External Quality Assurance Champion for the implemention of National Quality Assurance in parasitological diagnosis of malaria guidelines.
According to Abigael Jerotich, the County Malaria Quality Assurance Officer based at the Kapsabet County Referral Hospital, who received the award on behalf of the county, one of the intermediate results was an improvement in quality Malaria diagnostics. “Initially, malaria was diagnosed without any roadmap and the quality of malaria diagnosis was not given preference,” says Abigael.
To address this challenge, given that Nandi is among the counties with prevalence of malaria, the County Government of Nandi prioritized capacity building for health workers.
“We were taken through a series of trainings that has helped us to transform the management of malaria in the county,” she attests. “We have strengthened the technical support supervision and mentorship in link facilities that have contributed to the usage of commodities and documentation with an aim to improve the accuracy of malaria diagnostics at link facilities.”
She called for the establishment of a County Malaria Reference Laboratory in the county.
Malaria eradication is a top priority of the County. It has devoted resources and expertise to a relentless pursuit of malaria eradication, and has continuously adapted the approach to achieve the greatest possible impact, in partnership with key stakeholders in health.