By Reuben Olita
The County Government of Busia will now use drones to accelerate efforts towards the elimination of Malaria whose prevalence rate currently stands at 39 per cent.
The drone technology supported by the End Malaria Council (EMC) lists Busia among the first Counties in the country to have drones deployed for larviciding which is a wide spread intervention to kill mosquitoes before they breed.
Speaking at Akiriamasit Village in Teso North Sub County during the launch of the larviciding activity, EMC Chairman, Christopher Gitonga said that the initiative is the beginning of what will be done in areas where malaria is endemic.
Gitonga who was accompanied by EMC Secretary, Dr Willis Akhwale and members including the First Lady of Kisumu County Dorothy Nyong’o emphasized that it is part of achieving the Governments vision of making Kenya malaria free.
Dr Akhwale said that the drones will help in accessing hard to reach areas and cover expansive sites in Busia County, which has the highest burden of Malaria in country.
“The drone can carry 20 litres of the bio-larvicide, take pictures and identify the breeding sites especially where it is hard to reach, “he said, adding that the initiative is being done in collaboration with the Kenya Malaria Youth Army.
He assured residents that the bio-larvicide being used to spray the breeding sites has no effect on human beings, adding that apart from Busia County, a similar campaign is being done in Kirinyaga, Kisumu and Kilifi funded by the National Government. .
The Chief Officer in the Department of Health and Sanitation Jonathan Ino who was represented by the County Malaria Control Coordinator Oluoch Onyango said that despite efforts being put in place to fight malaria, residents should ensure that they observe the prevention measures.
The Ministry of Health (MoH), Division of Malaria Programme Epidemiologist Abduba Dabassa said that the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) have been trained on how to pick mosquito larvae with a target on anopheles mosquitoes.
“The Larva of the anopheles mosquito lies parallel to the surface of the water with a drinking tube projecting outside for oxygen while other types of mosquitoes hang loose down from the surface of the water.”
The CHVs led by Ms Julie Odikor said that the drone technology will reduce the workload in terms of bringing down the prevalence of malaria.
Earlier on at the Busia County Referral Hospital, Ino on behalf of the County Government of Busia flagged off the procession of the Kenya Malaria Youth Army, a group of young malaria champions who engaged the Busia Community in Malaria Prevention and Control activities.