Bid push to erad­i­cate malaria

African Independent - - HEALTH -

RWANDA has an­nounced ma­jor in­ter­ven­tions to erad­i­cate new cases of malaria, which is on the in­crease in the coun­try de­spite ef­forts to com­bat the dis­ease.

Rwan­dan Min­is­ter of Health Dr Diane Gashumba said the coun­try was fac­ing in­creas­ing cases of malaria, and the cam­paign marked re­newed ef­forts to pre­vent and con­trol the dis­ease.

“We have dis­cussed with part­ners and dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers dif­fer­ent in­ter­ven­tions that will be ap­plied to­wards com­bat­ing new malaria in­fec­tions,” she said

“The in­ter­ven­tions will in­clude do­nat­ing treated mos­quito nets to peo­ple coun­try­wide, ex­tend­ing in­door resid­ual spray­ing to se­lected malaria prone dis­tricts, ed­u­cat­ing the pop­u­la­tion about best prac­tices to pre­vent malaria, and mass malaria drug in­spec­tion.”

Gashumba said the govern­ment would ex­am­ine the stan­dards of other pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures like re­pel­lents to en­sure malaria was sig­nif­i­cantly con­trolled. She called on the com­mu­ni­ties to al­low those tasked with spray­ing houses with in­sec­ti­cides to be given ac­cess.

Malaria cases in Rwanda in­creased from 514 173 in 2014 to nearly 2 mil­lion last year. How­ever, deaths from the dis­ease de­creased from 499 in 2014 to 424 last year.

About 83 per­cent of Rwan­dan house­holds have treated mos­quito nets. The govern­ment tar­gets at least one mos­quito net per two peo­ple.

In 2013, there were about 900 000 cases of malaria in Rwanda. Of these, 409 peo­ple died, 30 per­cent of whom were chil­dren un­der 5. Fig­ures from the Rwanda Bio­med­i­cal Cen­tre show that the mor­bid­ity rate in the coun­try stands at 9 per­cent while the mor­tal­ity rate is at 4 per­cent.

Malaria is the fourth big­gest killer dis­ease in Rwanda af­ter neona­tal ill­ness, res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease and car­dio-vas­cu­lar dis­eases.

Early last year, Rwanda was recog­nised for its bat­tle against malaria, by the African Lead­ers Malaria Al­liance Awards for Ex­cel­lence in Vec­tor Con­trol.

The small central African coun­try is said to be on course to achiev­ing the mil­len­nium de­vel­op­ment goal of com­bat­ing malaria. Malaria kills about 400 000 peo­ple a year, the ma­jor­ity of whom are chil­dren in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion. –

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