Police in Kisumu have arrested three people suspected to be behind the theft of over 17,000 mosquito nets meant for free distribution to households in the area by the national government to curb the spread of malaria.
Kisumu County Police Commander Samuel Anampiu said 181 bales of the nets were missing from Nyang’ande Hospital and another 160 from Rabuor Hospital in Nyando Sub-County.
Anampiu confirmed that police have arrested Theresa Anyango Otieno, who is the acting officer in charge at Rabuor Sub-County Hospital, Cynthia Akinyi, the acting officer in charge of the net distribution programme at Nyang’ande area and David Ouma, the officer in charge at Nyang’ande Hospital.
He added that the officers were pursuing two other suspects, Dickson Malit who is stationed at Rabuor Sub-County Hospital but is currently on study leave, as well as one Samuel Omino who also works at the facility.
The county government of Kisumu on Wednesday embarked on distribution of 793, 740 insecticide treated mosquito nets received from the national government through support from the Global Fund.
The theft is likely to reverse the gains made in the fight against malaria in the area whose prevalence dropped from 27 per cent in 2015 to 19 per cent in 2021.
According to the County Malaria Control Coordinator Lylyana Dayo, the free insecticide treated mosquito nets have been instrumental in taming the killer disease in the area.
“Initially, we had cases of misuse of the nets where some people used them for fishing and covering kitchen gardens but we have done proper sensitization to tame the malpractices,” she said during the launch of the mass distribution of the nets.
Other measures put in place to tame the disease include vector control, indoor-residual spraying and accurate diagnosis and treatment.