– 9 August 2018
Protecting children from Malaria in Kenya
An effective malaria prevention programme run by SOS Children’s Villages in Mombasa has virtually eliminated the disease amongst children under the charity’s care – despite it being endemic in the region.
The disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, kills around 26,000 Kenyan children under the age of five every year. Mombasa is one of the most dangerous areas for malarial infection in the country with the number of cases having doubled in recent years. Children are particularly vulnerable during the rainy seasons in Spring and Autumn which produce the perfect conditions for mosquitos to thrive.
To prevent disease outbreaks SOS Children’s Villages has undertaken several measures including draining stagnant water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs, trimming back hedges and lawns where the insects can breed and encouraging households to cover their stored water and treat sewer systems with insecticides.
All children in the SOS village community sleep under mosquito nets that have been treated with an insecticide, houses are fumigated and mosquito nets are fixed on all windows to prevent the pests from entering.
The children also play an active role in the prevention measures and have lessons which focus on preventable diseases. They are taught how to keep the compound clean and the importance of mosquito nets.
The children cared for by SOS Children’s Villages are at particularly high risk of infection as most are under five years old – the age at which most malaria fatalities occur. Another malaria risk factor is the poor health of the children at the time they join their SOS families. Many children are infected with malaria when they arrive at the SOS village community and require urgent medical attention.
Ireneous Kombe, Programme Director of SOS Children’s Village Mombasa said: “The children are typically orphans from rural parts of the country. Often, they are malnourished when they arrive and their immune systems are weakened. This means they can get easily infected with the disease.
“But thanks to the prevention programmes we rarely get cases of malaria amongst the children in the village nowadays.”
SOS Children’s Villages has been providing unsupported children in Kenya with a secure home in a family environment since 1971. They operate five village communities in the country, as well as a range of family strengthening programmes which support at-risk families and work to reduce child neglect and abandonment.
You can help a child in need by donating to SOS Children's Villages UK.
Notes to editors:
For media enquiries please contact Lucy Prioli at Lucy.Prioli@sosuk.org or on 01223 222 974.