Kenya Malaria Youth Army Programme for Kenya Youths
President Uhuru Kenyatta has launched the Kenya Malaria Youth Army, a social movement that brings together young people from all the 47 counties of Kenya to champion malaria control and elimination in the country. The Kenya Malaria Youth Army will support advocacy, communication, innovation, and community efforts geared towards ending malaria, improving maternal and child health, and advancing access to universal healthcare.
The Kenya Malaria Youth Army will consist of young people aged 15 – 35, and will draw its membership from existing youth platforms, including youth groups, youth alliances, youth councils, youth societies and youth associations in Kenya. The army will be open to a diverse cadres of young people, including students, young professionals, young leaders in the political realm, public service and the private sectors and any other young persons willing to volunteer their time towards the malaria fight.
To fulfil its mandate, the youth army will support awareness raising, community sensitization activities, and dissemination of malaria messages in a bid to drive action towards malaria elimination. The army will advocate for resource mobilization and policy implementation while supporting community level malaria prevention and control efforts. These includes community-facing actions including the distribution of insecticide-treated nets, spraying larvicides at the malaria breeding sites and performing indoor residual spraying of homes in the lake and coastal malaria-prone counties of Kenya. The youth will also take lead in innovating and scaling up the delivery of proven tools that will prevent, diagnose or treat malaria infections in a bid to save lives.
During the launch that took place in Kilifi, President Kenyatta called on young people to amplify their voices to champion for greater accountability from government decision-makers and the private sector, and for strengthening of health systems. He emphasized on the need for young people to advocate for improved malaria surveillance and data sharing, and for malaria decision-making spaces to be more inclusive.
“There has been no better time for the young generation to advocate for their own future – now is the time to own the malaria agenda. I encourage the malaria community to leverage the #KenyaNiMimi youth campaign, the Sawazisha Gumzo by the National Youth Council, and other initiatives for youth dialogue and engagement in social, economic, and leadership processes in the country to contribute to malaria and the broader health and development agenda,” said President Kenyatta.
Upon launching the national malaria youth army, President Kenyatta urged young people to support malaria prevention and control activities at the grassroots level. The youth army will leverage on existing frameworks such as the National Youth Service (NYS) and the Kazi Mtaani initiative to perform indoor residual spraying of homes in malaria-prone counties of Kenya. The newly launched Kenya-Cuba project in the Ministry of Health will also engage young people in spraying larvicides at the malaria breeding sites.