22 November 2012

Rwanda: 13 Districts On Track to Eliminate Malaria

As Rwanda works towards being a malaria-free country, at least 13 districts are on track to eliminate malaria, according to Dr Corine Karema, head of Malaria Division in the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC).

She said this during an evaluation meeting of indoor residue spraying, where she noted that the 13 districts have a morbidity rate of less than 5 percent.

However, for a country to qualify being in the pre-elimination stage, they need to have a morbidity of less than five percent for at least three years and World Health Organisation's certification.

Karema attributed success in these districts to the distribution and use of mosquito nets, indoor residue spraying, early and prompt treatment of malaria and the role played by Community Health Workers, (CHWs) who help in early diagnosis and treatment of children under five.

Currently 95 percent of children are tested and treated for Malaria within 24 hours of symptoms onset.

She stated that they are working towards having a malaria-free country and fully entering into the pre-elimination stage by 2017.

"Bugesera, Gisagara and Nyagatare are currently the districts with the highest burden of malaria; so besides the other interventions like distributing long lasting medicated bed nets, we are now using the indoor residual spraying which we believe will be very effective in reducing the malaria burden," she said.

The scaling up of interventions has made remarkable reductions in morbidity by 87 percent, from 1.6 million malaria cases in 2005 to 212,200 cases in 2011, and a reduced mortality by 76 percent from 1,582 deaths in 2005 to 380 last year.

According to the 2010 Demographic Health Survey, 82 percent of the population have at least one long lasting insecticide net, while 72 percent of pregnant women and 70 percent of children under five were using bed nets.

Emmanuel Hakizimana, who is in charge of Malaria Vector Control, noted that indoor residue spraying will be conducted twice a year in the months of February and September.

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