- Every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria.
- Malaria is a preventable disease.
- Ten dollars buys a long lasting net that protects a child for 3-5 years.
The 2008 Health Education Day was a historic and unique event as more than seven thousand nine hundred people participated in the event. The event was held in Mbita, Kenya on April 25, 2008.
The event was a wonderful success and all attendees learned about the prevention of malaria. A total of one thousand children and pregnant women were provided with long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLIN’s). In addition, treatment was provided to seventy nine children who were diagnosed with malaria. Everyone who participated enjoyed themselves, as traditional singers and dancers provided entertainment for everyone.The event was historic, as it was attended by community leaders, government officials, and a much higher percentage of men in comparison to the Health Education Days in the past. In Kenyan households, it is the men who make most decisions regarding health and therefore the participation by men in this year’s event was seen as a breakthrough in information dissemination.
Identification of Beneficiaries
Akado Medical Clinic conducted a Rapid Needs Assessment study that covered 3757 households, to identify 1000 households as beneficiaries for 2008. According to Akado’s Study children between three to five years of age, and young girls who are pregnant were at the greatest risk of being infected by Malaria.
A total of 1000 nets were distributed to pregnant women and children vulnerable to malaria. This included eight hundred and eighty one children aged less than 5 years who were provided with the nets, along with one hundred nineteen pregnant women. The majority of the children who were provided with the nets were between the ages of two to five years as they are most vulnerable to malaria.
Among the eight hundred and eighty one children who were provided with nets, 63% were girls and 37% were boys. Mothers with girls were given priority in the distribution of nets as girls still face discrimination, neglect, abuse and exploitation from their parents and relatives as compared to boys. Early marriages of girls is very common in the area especially within the local fishing slums. According to Akado’s study, 97% of girls are forced to leave school and end up getting married before they are adults. As a result, the majority of pregnant women who were identified as beneficiaries, were teenagers between the ages of 14-18 years. This group of teenage moms is extremely vulnerable to malaria as they usually don’t visit public health facilities during pregnancy due to fear of public embarrassment and cruelty, or physical assault from their parents and teachers.
Since, Health Education Day has become an annual event; we hope that these efforts will lead to a reduction in the incidence of malaria in the Mbita region.
At present we are raising funds for distribution of long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLIN’s) for distribution at the Health Education Day 2009. Your generous donation will go a long way in preventing malaria and saving the lives of children, pregnant teen moms and women from malaria in Kenya.