Remarks prepared for Ambassador Robert F. Godec Launch of Mass-Mosquito Net Distribution Campaign Lurambi Sub-County, Kakamega County (as prepared)

Governor Oparanya, Ladies and gentlemen, other distinguished guests, Mabibi na mabwana, Waheshimiwa, Hamjambo! Habari zenu?

I am honored to be here in Kakamega as we begin our mass distribution of 3.8 million insecticide-treated

Mosquito nets. Overall, we are distributing over 5 million nets to families in Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Nyamira, and Kisii. The U.S. Government is a proud supporter of initiatives to fight malaria in Kenya and around the world.

Today, we strengthen this very important partnership between the United States, the governor and the people of Kenya. Malaria is one of the leading causes of illness and death in Kenya especially among children, and Kakamega is among the hardest hit counties.  Malaria kills.  Malaria takes newborns and children from their mothers. It keeps people from their livelihoods and undermines communities.

The Government of Kenya has done an impressive job at fighting malaria over the last ten years.

Across the country, the number of households with insecticide-treated mosquito nets surged from 5.9 percent in 2003 to 59 percent in 2014.  And Kakamega County has done even better, with nearly 80 per cent of all households with at least one insecticide-treated net.  It is truly impressive what your government has accomplished in such a short time.  In all malaria prevention and treatment indicators, Kakamega exceeds national averages.  Hongera. These are encouraging results, and they would not be possible without people working on the frontlines

to protect families from this disease.  Each day, in villages across the county, health workers – nurses, midwives, and doctors – safeguard the health and well-being of newborns, children, expectant mothers, and other community members. In the struggle against malaria, community health volunteers play a vital role.  Thank you to all the health workers here today for your admirable efforts—you are saving lives.

The U.S. Government, through the President’s Malaria Initiative is a strong supporter of this mass net distribution campaign.  This year, we procured nearly four million insecticide-treated nets for distribution in five counties across Kenya, including here in Kakamega County.  We work with the Kenyan National

Malaria Control Program in the prevention, control and treatment of malaria.  Besides providing nets, our support includes malaria test kits, medication, and training for health workers in malaria prevention and treatment.

I am proud to say that since 2008, we have invested more than Ksh 22 billion towards making malaria a problem of the past. Earlier this year, Kenya hosted the historic visit of President Barack Obama.  During the visit, the President spoke about our collaboration on public health issues. He said,

“…across Africa, Kenya and the United States [will] keep working to strengthen public health systems and deal with outbreaks of diseases before they become epidemics…Together we can save lives.” And today, as we launch the 2015 net distribution campaign here in Kakamega, we reinforce our commitment to combat malaria and reduce preventable deaths across Kenya. I am pleased at the progress we are making here today and look forward to continuing our strong partnership in the years to come.

Pamoja tusonge mbele. Asanteni sana.