Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kenya to pilot community-wide malaria treatments

IRIN: Kenya is experimenting with unconventional methods to tackle high malaria rates through the piloting of mass drug administration (MDA) - treating entire communities with anti-malarial drugs, regardless of whether they have the parasite.

The project is an initiative of the newly created Malaria Elimination Consortium of Western Kenya, founded in 2013 by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), and other partners, and is set to be rolled out at the beginning of next year.

MDA has been considered a malaria control mechanism for over a century, with studies on MDA usage dating back to 1914. But more recently, with the availability of transmission-reducing antimalarials, scientists are beginning to refocus on the possibility of using mass treatment to eradicate the disease in areas where other methods have been unable to have a large impact.

In Siaya County in western Kenya, where MDA will be introduced, a large percentage of the population who are healthy nevertheless harbour the malaria parasite and can be transmitters to others, especially children, who have no immunity to malaria.

Siaya has by far the highest malaria burden in the country, with approximately 33 percent of under-5 children, 56 percent of those aged 5-15, and 22 percent of those above 15 carrying the malaria parasite in their blood, according to KEMRI research.

Mosquito netting, shot by Tjeerd Wiersma, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

No comments: