Residents of Sirongo, Uyawi and areas along the lake shores in Bondo sub-county, Siaya County have expressed fears over what they termed insurgence of a new breed of mosquitoes along the beaches.
According to the locals, the new mosquito is larger than the usual one and makes rather an unusual sound that is different from the normal sound, and they start biting people shortly after sunset.
“The rate at which we suffer from malaria is worrying us. It is true that areas along the shores of the lake are often infested with mosquitoes, however, the current scenario is different,” said Mr William Otieno, the Beach Management Unit chair from Sirongo beach.
He added, “The nets that we use are rendered useless because the mosquitoes begin attacking us just moments after the sun has gone down, usually from 6pm. All of us are affected; the children and the adults are all affected.”
His sentiments are echoed by Nancy Awino from Uyawi, who complained of the costs of seeking medication.
“Almost everyone is suffering from malaria. The mosquitoes attack before people go to sleep. With the high cost of living, everyone is straining to meet the extra cost of medication,” she complained.
Ms Awino also reported that the mosquito bites cause bruises on the skin of the victims.
Bruises and sickness
“The bites are painful and they leave bruises on the skin. The normal mosquito bites sometimes go unnoticed. Since the beginning of the year, this has been our source of worry,” she added.
The residents have subsequently appealed to the Siaya county government department of health to invest in the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS); which is simply spraying the houses with insecticides that would help in killing the mosquitoes.
IRS has registered positive results in terms of reduced cases of malaria in Homa Bay and Migori Counties in the past ten years.
“The county governments of Migori and Homa Bay in partnership with other non-governmental organizations initiated the IRS in the two counties and the results are evident. It would be prudent for the same to be rolled out in Siaya because it is one of the areas that are categorized as one of the malaria endemic zones,” said Dr Ishamael Abbas, a pharmaceutical technologist from Homa Bay County.
He went on, “A research conducted by a firm in the United States some years back established that the female anopheles mosquito which is responsible for malaria rests on the walls before attacking humans, therefore, spraying the walls with insecticides would limit the chances of the insect being inside the houses. This seems to be working due to the reduced prevalence statistics of malaria in Homa Bay and Migori counties since the programme was initiated.”
Siaya County Director Public Health Dr Kennedy Orwenjo, said the health department is looking into the matter to ascertain what the members of the public had raised. Part of the investigations, he said, would be to establish if indeed the insect is a mutated version of mosquito or if it just looks like it.
Currently, the ministry of health has sensitized members of the public to continually sleep under treated mosquito nets which are distributed periodically.
In 2020, all the households in Siaya and other malaria endemic zones received free treated mosquito nets to aid in fighting malaria.