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TIPS ON MALARIA

  • HOW CAN MOSQUITOES BE CONTROLLED?

    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.

  • HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM MOSQUITO-BORN DISEASES?

    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.

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    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.
     

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It's a deal! Prove it and get a waiver

By Isaiah Esipisu-Kenya

IT’s a deal! Prove it and get a tax waiver. This is what the Kenyan government is saying as pressure mounts on African leaders to remove taxes and tariffs on malaria-fighting commodities.

Mosquito-net manufacturers in Kenya have been told they can secure specific tax waivers on raw material only if they import pre-treated yarn, and prove to the government that it will indeed be used to manufacture the intended commodities.

Head of the Kenyan Malaria Control Division, Dr Elizabeth Juma, told the manufacturers that the government has not been able to zero-rate taxes and tariffs on yarn because there is a possibility of businessmen abusing the exemption by using the same materials to produce wedding gowns, window curtains and the like.   

“This has been a subject for discussion between the Ministry of Finance and local net manufacturers since the year 2006 in an interest to have affordable locally manufactured nets, but no proper solution has been reached to date,” Dr Juma told Eyes on Malaria.

“But if any manufacturer could express interest in importing already pre-treated yarn and prove to the Kenya Revenue Authority that the raw material will specifically be used for mosquito-net manufacturing, then there is an open window for them applying for tax waivers by consignment,” she explained. 

                        Mosquito net production factory

So far, taxes and tariffs charged on the yarn have made it an expensive affair for local manufacturers to locally manufacture nets. As a result, all grants given to Kenya by bilateral donors specifically for bulk purchase of mosquito net ends up in foreign countries, since Kenya can only import the commodities.

However Kenya is recognised as one of the six countries world-wide which have zero-rates taxes and tariffs on all commodities used to fight malaria, including imported mosquito-nets, drugs, malaria testing equipment, chemicals for indoor residual spraying among others.

During the 16th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa – Ethiopia recently, Kenya was among four African countries who received excellence awards from African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) for eliminating taxes and tariffs on anti-malaria commodities, and banning of anti-malarial mono therapies. Other countries are Tanzania, Uganda and Guinea.

“We highly appreciate efforts by these African countries for eliminating taxes and tariffs from malaria commodities. However, it is as well important for the countries to own the process of the fight against the killer disease by locally manufacturing the commodities,” said Dr Halima Mwenesi, the Director – Malaria Taxes and Tariffs Advocacy Project (M-TAP).

She noted that each year, Africa receives billions of shillings worth of grants for fight against malaria, but the money makes its way back to foreign countries because Africa does not have the capacity to manufacture most of the commodities.

                Mosquito net in use

In Africa, only Nigeria and Tanzania are currently in full production of long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets, with the help of western partners. Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi have industries that cut and sew mosquito nets, using precursors supplied from external partner.

With regard to malaria treatment, local manufacturers are yet to conform to the international list of prequalified medicinal products used against malaria and other diseases such as HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and for reproductive health.

The list, produced by the WHO is used principally by United Nations agencies to guide their procurement decisions. It has become a vital tool for any agency or organization involved in bulk purchasing of medicines at country level or at international level, as demonstrated by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

According to the WHO, stringent quality standards are particularly important for artemisinin-based antimalarial medicines, since the extraction process of the active pharmaceutical ingredient from plant origin is complex, and chemical instabilities may arise in the manufacturing process of the finished pharmaceutical products.

The WHO Prequalification Programme therefore assesses products following a standardised procedure that includes the review of product dossiers and the inspection of the manufacturing site in order to ensure that products comply with recommended quality standards.

The recommended antimalarial drugs used in Kenya at the moment are a combination of Arthemether and Lumefantrine (AL). Through the Global Fund, the drugs have been subsidized and are available in both public and private sectors at the cost of Sh40 per dose of an adult.

Mono-therapy refers to the use of a single drug for treatment. Such drugs like chloroquine and malariaquine were once very effective in malaria treatment. But since they were mono-therapies made from a component known as amodiaquine, the malaria causing parasite developed resistance against them very easily – rendering them useless. As a result, the World Health Organisation now recommends a combined regimen.

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