Amref Health Africa and Trans Nzoia County Government have agreed to end four Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
The two bodies agreed to implement a five year program whose aim is to end diseases including intestinal worms and bilharzia.
This will be done through deworming, improving access to safe water and sanitation institutions, advocacy and hygiene behavior change in society.
Speaking to The Scholar Media Africa, Amref Health Africa Director, Martin Muchangi said that the body is committed to eliminate the neglected tropical diseases.
Amref will work in collaboration with both arms of government.
“We will deliberately advocate for prioritization and recognizing of neglected tropical diseases as part of the main diseases and advocate for integration of NTDs with other health programs with the aim of eliminating these diseases by 2023,” said Muchangi
Mr. Muchangi said Amref Health Africa targets four counties that includes Trans Nzoia, Kakamega, Bungoma and Vihiga.
He revealed that 12.9 % (13,775,000) of Kenyans are infected with soil transmitted helminths (intestinal worms).
Nine million people in the country are at risk of infection with bilharzia.
He added that 70% of this population are children who are between the age of 5-14 years.
Mr. Muchangi said about 7% of children register absenteeism from school as a result of worm infestation.
This has major impact on Kenya’s vision 2030.
He said that children and women are the most affected because of sociocultural predisposition.
Mr. Muchangi noted that there is need of preventing these diseases through improvement of sanitation and hygiene.
He said Amref Health Africa had donated 25,000,000 tablets of mebendazole for treatment of soil transmitted helminthes.
It has also donated 4.3 million tablets of prazequantel for treatment of schistosomiasis.
He said Amref Health Africa has invested 1.6 million US dollars this year through Deworming Innovation Fund project.
This seeks to do away with intestinal worms and bilharzia in the four counties.
It will ensure there is proper surveying, monitoring, evaluation and identifying the most affected areas, advocacy for sustainable interventions beyond projects life, strengthen coordination that will ensure the disease is eliminated, mainstreaming and behavior change communication within the society.
The director also revealed that Amref Health Africa will do a mapping survey targeting 7500 children in schools as well as 1, 200 children and adults in ten villages.
He said this survey will help to carry out mass drug administration that has been planned for November 2021 as most of these people live in neglected areas.
Mr. Muchangi asked the County Government of Trans Nzoia and other counties that are in partnership with Amref Health Africa to pump enough resources into the health sector in order to eliminate and prevent these diseases.
Trans Nzoia Deputy Governor Stanley Tarus appreciated Amref Health Africa for accepting to work closely with the department of health in order to strengthen the system and ensure NTDs are dealt with in the community.
Mr. Tarus said the county government will ensure the program is sustainable.
He added that the County needs all stakeholders in the fight against the neglected disease.
He said each person needs to deworm.
The County Executive in charge of Health Claire Wanyama said they will target all villages and institutions and educate them on proper hygiene that includes sanitation within their homes.