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Tackling malaria in Kenya has had noteworthy successes but the country must “not take the foot off the gas”, with the mosquito still defiant to multiple interventions, cautions the Kenya NGO’s Alliance Against Malaria.

While malaria robs Kenya of some 16,000 children every year, maternal and infant mortalities and morbidities caused by other childhood diseases remain high, a situation that has propelled the Kenya NGOs Alliance Against Malaria (KeNAAM) to take on a more comprehensive view of child health.

With this issue in mind, KeNAAM last year reassessed its place in the bigger picture of Maternal and Child Health Care, noting that although malaria continues to be an important concern, it is just one of the potentially fatal problems that bring a concerned parent to a health care facility.

In meeting this need, KeNAAM launched its 2013 – 2017 Strategic Plan, which adopted a new paradigm shift dubbed Malaria ++ (Plus Plus). The change will see KeNAAM address a broader portfolio of Maternal and Child Health issues in addition to Malaria. It will also focus on health sector policy development, knowledge management and community systems strengthening.

KeNAAM aspires to successfully integrate malaria and Maternal and Child health issues through the application of practical and innovative methodologies that take consideration of the complexities of the current thinking in line with the National Malaria Strategy.

This means that KeNAAM will expand its Community Health Workers (CHW) and Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) trainings to focus not only on the cause and prevention of malaria but also the prevention and management of other life threatening childhood illnesses.

Some of the critical areas of intervention in maternal and child health will endeavour to improve nutrition of children under five years of age, increased use of skilled birth attendants, utilization of Antenatal Services and access to essential new born case, immunization coverage and diarrheal management.

Another example of the expansion of Malaria ++, is seen in KeNAAM’s initiative called Community Dialogues conducted in collaboration with the MOH courtesy of financing from Global Fund. During this sessions, KeNAAM facilitate regular community driven, solution focused dialogues in malaria prone areas. Through the Malaria ++ Concept, the topics will be broadened to include environmental problems, health and hygiene, immunization – topics that are central to the concerns of the local communities.

Over the past 12 years, KeNAAM has continuously built a network of contacts in malaria prone counties in Kenya. It will maintain it’s knowledge base and contacts in these geographical areas.

In attending to the holistic needs of mothers and children in Kenya, KeNAAM will have achieved its mission of scaling up effective malaria interventions and addressing related diseases and conditions among vulnerable communities in all of Kenya’s 47 counties.

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