Community powered malaria management
In the Kisii highlands of Kenya, a new programme is joining communities, NGOs and government officials with ICIPE malaria specialists to reduce the morbidity and mortality from this disease. Four locations in Nyando district are interlinking four strategies in an integrated approach: Reduction of mosquito larvae at source through better water management; Application of two biological larvicides, Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) and neem (Azadirachta indica) products; Distribution and use of ITNs (insecticide-treated bednets); Recording of current and past cases of malaria using blood smear analysis. A functional malaria task force meets once or twice a month to monitor the activities. Over 1000 community members in the Kenya highland districts of Kisii and Gucha have been trained through 24 two-day workshops held in local schools. ICIPE staff present the important points about vector biology, behaviour and ecology. The facts about malaria breeding in the many brickmaking pits and fishponds in the area are covered. Ministry of Health and Merlin staff tackle health aspects such as malaria symptoms, treatment and prevention. A wetland conservation project in a fourth district, Nyamira, involves schoolchildren and community wetland groups. An element of reducing malaria vector breeding is included in this recently implemented project.