24-07-2021 by redazione
Kenya is set to use drones to locate mosquito breeding sites and "bomb" them to reduce malaria transmissions from the anopheles species.
In an effort to fight malaria and ascertained once and for all during the pandemic the exceedingly slow process to arrive at a vaccine, which has been studied for years and whose trial was supposed to start in 2019, the Ministry of Health has launched this new initiative in the field of technological research.
In the presence of Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, in Mtondia village near Kilifi, during Malaria Action Day celebrations, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe announced that drones will help access mosquito breeding areas that are less easy to reach, such as swamps, irrigation areas, reservoirs or others.
The drone innovation introduced by the Malaria Council, a partnership of government and private companies, will take us forward in the fight against the disease in the country," Kagwe said. The drones can identify breeding sites and generate maps to guide action.
In practice, the drones will be tasked with identifying mosquito larvae and eliminating them. The small aerial devices, equipped with a camera, make it possible to reach areas where these insects could reproduce, but which are less accessible to humans. Once these areas have been discovered, the drone sprays an insecticide which, according to the Ministry of Health, is non-toxic and biodegradable.
The use of drones is not the only weapon being studied against malaria. Other initiatives involving young people, mothers and health care at local level are in the pipeline.
President Kenyatta also presented the first locally produced malaria rapid diagnostic kit to the KEMRI Wellcome Trust research programme in Kilifi.
Malaria remains a major public health problem in Kenya.
In addition to being the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the country, the disease is listed among the top 10 causes of outpatient visits across the country.
However, the disease burden remains highest in the Lakeland counties, which account for 70 percent of the 6.5 million cases per year nationwide.
However, thanks in part to research, the mortality rate from the disease in the regions with the highest proportion of sick people to cases has fallen by eight percentage points in five years, from 27 to 19 per cent. On the coast, the percentage fell from 8% to 5.6.
A revolutionary new breakthrough in malaria treatment has been developed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Malaria Research Institute in Baltimore, USA.
by Adriano Ghirardello, Honorary Warden KWS
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