22 September 2017

Rwanda: Health Ministry Launches U.S.$5 Million Spraying Drive Ahead of Malaria Peak Season

The ministry of Health has launched a $5,098,326 indoor residual spraying (IRS) campaign in Kirehe and Nyagatare, some of the malaria high risk districts in the country.

Launched early this week, the exercise will run through to October.

Information from the Malaria Division of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) shows that a total of 200,278 structures are targeted in both districts, 114,405 of which are in Nyagatare and 85,873 in Kirehe.

In Nyagatare, 14 sectors, 108 cells and 637 villages will be sprayed while in Kirehe, the campaign will cover 12 sectors that boast 60 cells and 612 villages.

According to Dr Aimable Mbituyumuremyi, the head of the Malaria Division at RBC, the rationale of the campaign is to deal with the mosquitoes before the peak of malaria transmission in December to January each year,

"When we spray around this time, it is more effective than waiting to spray in December during the malaria peak when people are already infected," he said.

According to the ministry, in Rwanda, the trend of malaria cases displays a bi-annual in May/June and then peak in November/December following the peaks of rainfall that come with water flooding and high density of mosquitoes.

According to the Malaria Operational Plan 2017-2018 of the Presidential Malaria Initiative, Kirehe and Nyagatare are the districts with a high malaria burden in Rwanda.

Actellic insecticide will be used in the exercise and it is estimated that up to 156,467 bottles of the insecticide will be mobilised.

This insecticide lasts for 10 months on sprayed walls and only one round of indoor residual spraying covers the two peaks of malaria transmission.

In total, 1669 community health workers will be involved in the spraying operation while 2666 community leaders from villages and cells will mobilise residents.

According to WHO, 2017, the primary vector control interventions to prevent malaria transmission in tropical region are sleeping under long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and spraying the inside walls using a residual insecticide.

The two vector control tools have been proven to successfully reduce malaria transmission when the coverage is sufficiently high.

Indoor residual spraying is defined as the application of insecticide to the inside of houses, on walls and other surfaces that serve as a resting place for malaria-infected mosquitoes. IRS kills mosquitoes when they are exposed to treated surfaces, preventing disease transmission.

The objectives of IRS are to reduce, and ultimately interrupt, malaria transmission by reducing vector survivorship, density, and human-vector contact, in a manner that is safe for human health and the environment.

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