When Joan Wekesa took her four-year-old son to Kakamega County Teaching and Referral hospital in Western Kenya on Saturday afternoon, she knew she would walk out with him having gotten better. malaria
However, that did not happen as she lost the baby to malaria.
She recounted that her son started being unwell the previous day and gave him some pain-killers hoping that he would be fine.
However, his condition worsened the following day prompting Wekesa to solicit funds from her neighbors to enable her rush the baby to the hospital.
“I started soliciting money from the villagers that Saturday morning after my son started shaking and vomiting. I raised 31 U.S. dollars and rushed him to the hospital which is a few kilometers from my home,” Wekesa said in an interview as she fought back tears.
Wekesa’s son is among the dozens of children below age 10 who died of malaria at the hospital and the region as cases of the preventable disease rise.
The Ministry of Health officials have blamed the increase in deaths on misuse of mosquito nets and laxity by mothers to take their children to hospital.
Augustine Ajevi, Kakamega hospital’s medical superintendent, said the children died while receiving treatment on Saturday night.
“Our biggest worry is that most parents bring their children to hospital when in critical condition and when it’s too late and this leaves us with little chances to examine and treat the patient,” he said.
Ajevi said cases of severe malaria had gone up in the last one month due to the onset of the rains in the region.
County executive for Health Penina Mukabane said that plans are underway to distribute one million nets to families in the county.
The campaign targets to ensure expectant mothers and children sleep under nets to avoid malaria infection which public health officials said peaked during the rainy season.
“We are also ensuring that there is adequate supply of malaria drugs in all the health facilities in the county for treatment purposes,” Mukabane said.
The deaths of children have sounded alert to neighboring counties like Kisumu where malaria prevalence is the second leading cause of ill health and the third leading cause of death according to the county chief officer of health,” Ojwang Lusi.
“We are working with community health workers in the villages to ensure that women take their children to hospital earlier to prevent death cases,” Lusi said.
The Ministry of Public reports released last month on the World Malaria Day estimated the prevalence of malaria in the region at 40.9 percent in children under five, 36.9 percent in children above five years and malaria in pregnancy at 0.6 percent. Enditem



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