Kenya announced plans Thursday to broaden access to anti-malaria drugs with the general sale of artemisinin-based therapy (ACT) -- currently only available in hospitals -- in a bid to reduce deaths.
"It is our intention before the end of December to make sure that we'll be able to get this new treatment over the counter," said Medical Services Assistant Minister Danson Mungatana.
AdvertisementThe government has said it needs seven billion shillings (113 million dollars, 72 million euros) to combat malaria, which kills 34,000 children under the age of five each year and threatens the lives of more than 25 million from a total population of 35 million.
The disease accounts for 20 percent of all hospital admissions and between 30 and 50 percent of outpatients in the country.
In August last year, the government announced it had almost halved malaria deaths among small children by using insecticidal nets (INTs), spurring the World Health Organisation to advocate free nets for all as it tackles Africa's deadliest disease.
Malaria affects more than a billion people worldwide and kills a million -- mainly under the age of five -- every year, the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa.