Nakuru, 30, August 2021 – Kenya’s malaria epidemic-prone counties committed to enhance action towards reducing the burden of malaria in the country. The counties undertook to utilize county malaria scorecards and bolster the country’s efforts towards ending the scourge. Malaria is one of Kenya’s top killer diseases.
This renewed will for accountability and action comes after a week-long training on the Malaria Scorecard that targeted Kenya’s malaria epidemic-prone counties of Baringo, Elgeiyo Marakwet, Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, West Pokot, Turkana and Uasin Gishu. The training that was held in Nakuru, Kenya, was led by Kenya’s Division of National Malaria Program with the support of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance. The meeting was attended County Malaria Coordinators, County Pharmacists and County Health Records Information Officers and the Kenya End Malaria Council.
“For us to see the successful implementation of the national malaria strategic plan, we must promote mutual accountability between the sectors using tools such as the scorecard,” said Eva Muthuuri, Kenya End Malaria Council Member. “As a council, we shall be leveraging the scorecard to facilitate multisectoral engagements towards closing the current financial gap” she added.
The Malaria Scorecard is a management tool that enables countries to track progress on key health indicators to inform and empower health workers, local governments, and communities to act, and increase impact in the fight against malaria. Adoption of the tool is part of the ALMA Chair, HE President Kenyatta’s bold and ambitious plan to help eliminate malaria on the continent by putting data for decision making at the centre of how Africa responds to the disease through digitalization and use of real time data.
During the training, participants recognised the pivotal role of the scorecard in identifying, prioritizing, and monitoring implementation of key actions for malaria epidemic preparedness and response. By helping identify programme priorities, investigate underlying root cause of bottlenecks, and take action, the malaria scorecard has proven to be an effective tool in driving accountability and action especially in dealing with priority issues such as malaria commodity stock outs. The teams further expressed enthusiasm in utilising the scorecard at their biannual regional review meetings to discuss performance, identify bottlenecks, and address key emerging issues.
“Being my first time interacting with the scorecard, I am amazed at how it makes it easy to see and interpret many indicators at a glance,” said Dr. Daniel Birundu, County Health Pharmacist, Kisii County. “Since the visualization illuminates what is taking place on the ground, it eases the process of identifying root causes in order to offer appropriate recommendations,” he added.
The training participants committed to cascade down their learnt skills to their sub-county counterparts to enhance scorecard use at all levels. They also pledged to orient their senior managers on the scorecard and solicit their support in using the tool for decision making, and in mobilization of resources at their counties. At the same, the EMC members committed to use the scorecard for an evidence-based advocacy to mobilize local resources to drive the agenda of malaria control and elimination in Kenya.
Within the four-day session, participants were trained on the scorecard web platform – ALMA’s online tool to manage scorecards, and the Scorecard hub. Launched in February 2021 by HE President Kenyatta, the scorecard hub serves as a public repository of scorecards shared by African countries and offers free and self-paced online courses on scorecard tools. The Kenya scorecard management tool decentralized to the 47 counties, is actively used to support evidence-based decision-making and timely response to the gaps and bottlenecks on RMNCAH, nutrition, immunization and malaria. Kenya’s Lake Endemic and Coastal Endemic counties have also been trained and are actively using the scorecard in their malaria work.
“From this training, I am convinced that we are on the right track. As a tool, the scorecard, is one of the best that can be applied in harnessing political engagement and resource mobilisation to defeat malaria once and for all,” said Anthony Okara, ALMA Special Ambassador. “If all countries leverage the scorecard hub to share best practices, we will achieve greater collective impact and march towards ending malaria by 2030” he added.
The Nakuru training comes at a time when Kenya has rejuvenated its efforts to fight malaria in the country. Earlier in February, the country established the Kenya End Malaria Council to boost multi-sectoral engagement, and more recently, Kenya became the first country to launch its national malaria youth army. In October 2020, HE President Kenyatta launched the Zero Malaria Starts With Me campaign in Kenya, and urged individuals, families, communities, as well as political and business leaders to make a personal commitment to step up the fight against the disease (watch Kenya’s journey in the fight against malaria under the leadership of the ALMA chair).