Rwanda celebrates progress against Malaria

On Sunday , April 25, 2021.Rwanda has joined the rest of the world to commemorate  the World Malaria Day with the international  theme, “Zero Malaria Starts With Me”  to combine efforts in the community mobilization to fight against malaria through an increased awareness of the community and all stakeholders in malaria response and providing malaria prevention and control interventions at the community level across the country.

The day was officially celebrated at Mareba sector in Bugesera district, Eastern Province where the community was mobilised to fight and prevent malaria.

The control to fight Malaria in Rwanda has made a good progress and impressive achievements up to date due to a strong political commitment of the Government of Rwanda, as well as the participation of the community.

With combined efforts, Rwanda recorded a drop in malaria incidence from 400 per 1000 in 2016 to 148 per 1000 in 2020. Rwanda continued to witness a decrease in malaria cases from 4.8 million in 2017 to 1.8 million in 2020, a decrease in severe malaria from 18,000 in 2016 to 3,000 in 2020. Malaria related deaths decreased from 700 in 2016 to 148 deaths in 2020.

Currently,56% of all malaria  cases  are  managed at  the community  levels  by community health  workers  for early diagnosis  and  treatment.

The Director General of RC, Dr. Nsanzimana Sabin praised  the heroic work of Community health  workers for having  enabled  Rwanda to record a drop in Malaria incidence, cases and deaths in the last 5 years.

“Community Health Workers are our heroes. They treat 60% of Malaria patients across the country every year. In Rwanda we have 58000 CHWs, but they have recorded more achievements than what 100,000 health professionals have done. We are in the process of giving you advanced technology for easy reporting.” Said Dr. Nsanzimana.

The Director General of RBC Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana disclosed that new measures to fight against malaria including the use of drones, announced that a malaria vaccine that has proved to be 77% effective in early trials, is a hope that malaria will be eliminated one day.

Community participation is key to successfully fight against malaria. Mukamusangwa Verena, a resident of Nyamigina Cell in Mareba Sector, Bugesera District, said she is   fully aware of all the mosquito breeding sites, she already understands how to prevent malaria.

The fight against malaria  involves public-private partnership is another  force to combat malaria.

Bugingo Emma Marie, the Executive Director of Pro-Femmes Twese Hamwe,  said her organization and others such as SFH, Caritas-Rwanda, Urunana DC are ready to provide their contribution  in the fight against malaria.

The celebration of the World Malaria Day was marked by different activities at community level for malaria prevention including launching Malaria awareness using drones, radio and TV programs on malaria prevention, visiting the mosquito breeding sites and how to prevent them, and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) at the household level, educating community on proper use of bed nets.