USAID Kenya Malaria

Tremendous progress has been made in malaria control in recent years. Widespread distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, coupled with household spraying have helped large parts of the country become free from malaria.  Nevertheless, malaria remains a leading cause of illness and death among children under 5.  The burden of malaria also exacts a steep economic toll, with about 170 million working days lost due to malaria illness each year. 

Through the President’s Malaria Initiative, USAID and other key U. S. Government partners support high-impact interventions in line with Kenya’s National Malaria Control Strategy.  These interventions include purchasing and distributing insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual spraying, diagnosis with rapid diagnostic tests or microscopy and treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapy.  USAID partners with the Government of Kenya to strengthen the health system, improving overall reporting from health facilities to ensure the right amounts of antimalarial drugs are available and appropriately monitored.

Since the program began in 2007, the President’s Malaria Initiative has purchased more than 5.2 million insecticide treated bed nets to support distribution efforts, and procured more than two million rapid diagnostic tests and 25 million treatments.  In 2012 alone, the initiative trained approximately 2,000 community health workers on antenatal care and malaria in pregnancy, and more than 5,700 health workers on simplified malaria guidelines.

Insecticide-Treated Mosquito Nets

The Government of Kenya’s policy is to distribute free insecticide treated nets to pregnant women at antenatal clinics and to children under one year of age.  In 2011, Kenya conducted a rolling mass campaign to scale up to universal coverage of insecticide treated nets in priority endemic areas, as well as increase their availability at antenatal clinics, child health service providers, and retail outlets.  The President’s Malaria Initiative continues to procure insecticide treated nets for free routine distribution through antenatal care clinics and mass campaigns, and supports the Department of Malaria Control to develop innovative ways to replace worn-out nets at the community level.

Prevention of Malaria in Pregnancy

Prevention of malaria in pregnancy is crucial to improving maternal and child health in Kenya.  Current Government of Kenya policy calls for pregnant women to receive two or more doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine for Intermittent Preventive Treatment in pregnancy. However, available data suggests that the use of the medicine, especially the second dose, remains too low.  To increase the number of pregnant women using sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, the President’s Malaria Initiative supports the training of health workers to correctly deliver the intervention in all endemic districts. This will further be strengthened through targeted behavior change communication strategies.   

Indoor Residual Spraying

USAID/Kenya began indoor residual spraying activities in 2008 and has conducted extensive environmental assessments to ensure that the spraying is safe.  Thousands of local personnel have been trained to conduct and oversee spraying activities.  County capacity has been enhanced through strategic, technical, managerial, and operations support for indoor residual spraying activities.  The goal is to establish a model operation and build the government’s existing capacity to implement safe and effective indoor residual spraying activities.

Diagnosis and Treatment

To ensure effective diagnosis and treatment of malaria, the President’s Malaria Initiative supports both the improvement of government laboratories and skill-building for laboratory personnel, including improved diagnostics. 

In 2012, based on global recommendations, Kenya adopted a policy of universal diagnosis – requiring that all suspected cases of malaria be confirmed with a diagnostic test prior to treatment. In line with the policy, USAID assisted the Government of Kenya in efficiently rolling out rapid diagnostic tests nationwide.

USAID has procured millions of treatments and provides technical support to the Kenya Medical Supply Agency and the Department of Malaria Control to strengthen the distribution of procured drugs and to improve the monitoring of stocks of all malaria medicines. A national curriculum package has been developed that trains staff to efficiently manage all malaria medicines in their local hospitals and clinics.

For more information:

Karen Freeman
Mission Director
P.O. Box 629
00621 Nairobi
Tel: + 254 8622000

Barbara Hughes
Office of Population and Health USAID/Kenya
P.O. Box 629
00621 Nairobi
Tel: + 254 8622000

Updated September 2013

Last updated: September 12, 2013

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