As warming brings more malaria, Kenya moves treatment closer to home
When it rains in Emusala village, a person sick with a fever can find it hard to get to the nearest health centre, which requires a trip along the slippery footpaths that lead to the nearest main road some 10km (6 miles) away, in the heart of Western Kenya’s Kakamega County.
But if the fever spells the onset of malaria, rapid diagnosis and treatment are essential.
That’s where Nicholas Akhonya comes in. With the aid of a simple medical kit and his mobile phone, Akhonya, a trained community health volunteer, is able to diagnose villagers with malaria in their own homes, offer treatment, and refer acute cases and pregnant women to health facilities for specialised care.
Malaria cases are on the increase in Kenya, and experts attribute the upsurge to changes in the climate.
According to Dr. James Emisiko, coordinator for the Division of Vector Borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases in Kakamega County, mosquitoes breed particularly well in stagnant water in warm temperatures.