In a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Amref Health Africa, and the END Fund, a mass deworming program has been launched in western Kenya to combat the high levels of intestinal worms and bilharzia in the region.
According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, 140 out of 155 wards in the targeted counties of Vihiga, Kakamega, Trans Nzoia, and Bungoma have reported cases of intestinal worms, with at least 40 wards having over 40% cases of bilharzia.
Poor sanitation and hygiene practices have been identified as major contributing factors to the high rates of these diseases in the region.
To address this issue, the Ministry of Health and Amref has initiated behaviour change communication campaigns to educate schoolchildren and the community on the importance of good personal hygiene.
Over 300 street families, 250 sex workers, and prisoners are among the millions of Kenyans set to receive deworming drugs as part of the program.
According to Bungoma County Public Health Officer Wambusi Moses, these groups have often been neglected in the past, but the government is taking steps to ensure that everyone is included in the mass drug administration.
Pastor Joseph Mukolwe of Restoration of Hope Church, which works with street children, emphasized the need for these children to receive regular deworming due to the living conditions they face.
Community health volunteer Mildred Karani reported that 300 street children have already received deworming drugs, with 360 street children in Bungoma County being dewormed so far.
The program is expected to reach a total of 6 million Kenyans across the country, with almost 900,000 in Bungoma County alone. The activity will be finalized at Bungoma GK Prison in the coming days.