Rwanda is aiming at malaria pre-elimination by 2018, maximization of existing malaria preventive measures through active community participation is a high priority [1-3]. Elimination of malaria should not be the responsibility of health professionals alone. Rather health professionals should work with the community to promote their participation in malaria elimination initiatives [4, 5]. This brief shares findings from the Malaria Elimination Program for Ruhuha (MEPR). This program was funded by WOTRO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research/NOW Science for Global Development). It aims at showing the multifactorial conditions of malaria in a community and the role of community participation in the elimination of malaria. Specifically the program worked with community malaria action teams (CMATs) to sensitize the community about malaria elimination and to identify and facilitate community-based solutions for malaria elimination.
How CMATs were established
Ruhuha sector is divided into five cells with a total number of 35 villages. Each village had a CMAT, which was composed of three individuals: a village local leader, youth representative and community health worker. The total number was 105. A meeting was held with CMATs to discuss their terms of reference, communication strategies, their initial plan of actions as well as the monitoring and evaluation strategy. This section summarizes the key activities that were implemented as part of the community malaria elimination activities.
Selection and Training of CMATs
CMATs were selected in collaboration with MEPR team, Ruhuha health centre and Ruhuha sector and trained on malaria treatment and prevention including bed net use, Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), elimination of mosquito breeding sites (rice fields and peri-domestic), larval and adults mosquito monitoring.
CMATs contribute to malaria elimination by sensitizing communities about malaria control, identifying and facilitating community-based solutions and fostering a sense of community ownership.