The Liguru Net Ambassador

Jun 2018
Mr. Omuruya presenting a net to a client. Photo credit: James Mwangi.

As a “Liguru” or Village Elder, Mr. John Omuruya is looked upon by the people of Lusheya village as not only a leader and advisor but also one who can solve their problems. And while his role is mostly administrative, he is particularly excited about a new role he is playing at the moment because he is working to ensure that his people are protected from malaria.

Lusheya Village is right in the heartland of Kakamega County and has been mapped as one of the locations receiving free long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLIN) in the ongoing mass net distribution process supported by the Global Fund and PMI. Mr. Omuruya has the responsibility of assisting the project staff and the ministry of health sub-county malaria control coordinators in mapping out and registering households to ensure that every resident gets their nets. He also assists in addressing concerns about nets raised by his. Mr. Omuruya was ecstatic that he was the man bringing protection to his village: “My village which comprises of about 3,000 people look up to me for all manner of guidance but being a part of this mass net process is by far the pinnacle of my achievements. This is because I am addressing their health, and sickness comes with a lot of other burdens, so working with PS Kenya and the county government of Kakamega to keep my people healthy gives me the greatest joy,” he said with pride.

 “Every now and then a member of the community falls ill and when we visit our dispensary, the diagnosis is majorly malaria. We are now happy that we will be able to defeat malaria since my village has received the nets. I am happy that I was involved in helping members of the community to understand the importance of using nets to prevent malaria. I was also involved in teaching my people how to hang the nets and also share information about the right use of the mosquito nets and right now, they look to me as the source of information and commodities,” narrated Mr. Omuruya.

The area malaria coordinator said that net hanging and misconceptions are a major challenge in ensuring that nets are appropriately used. The involvement of village leaders like Mr. Omuruya is helping the government to ensure that nets are used properly and for the benefit of the community.

Mr. Omuruya said that since they were trained they have been working alongside the doctors and community health volunteers to visit households and address issues that arise from the villagers.

In Kakamega County, 1.9 million nets procured through collaboration between PMI and the Global Fund will help keep over 3.4 million people free from malaria. All these efforts are geared towards ensuring that at least 80 percent of Kenyans in malaria prone regions use the appropriate malaria prevention strategies.

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