Religion, prostitutes reject malaria spray

KIGALI - Jehovah Witnesses and prostitutes have refused to have their houses sprayed in the ongoing anti-malaria campaign.The Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) campaign, with ICON pesticide, kicked off last month in Kigali City but has met stiff resistance from Jehovah Witnesses of God group believers and prostitutes, according to health officials.Dr Innocent Nyaruhirira, the State Minister in-charge of HIV/Aids and other Epidemic Diseases, said yesterday that the Jehovah Witnesses have continuously turned away government spraying teams claiming that the ‘spraying is against their religious beliefs.’
Dr  Nyaruhirira says some sections of the society do not welcome anti-malaria spaying teams.
Dr Nyaruhirira says some sections of the society do not welcome anti-malaria spaying teams.

KIGALI - Jehovah Witnesses and prostitutes have refused to have their houses sprayed in the ongoing anti-malaria campaign.The Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) campaign, with ICON pesticide, kicked off last month in Kigali City but has met stiff resistance from Jehovah Witnesses of God group believers and prostitutes, according to health officials.
Dr Innocent Nyaruhirira, the State Minister in-charge of HIV/Aids and other Epidemic Diseases, said yesterday that the Jehovah Witnesses have continuously turned away government spraying teams claiming that the ‘spraying is against their religious beliefs.’

“The reports we have show that the Jehovah Witnesses of God refused to comply saying that God is against the practice,” Nyaruhirira said.

He was addressing sector executive secretaries at Nyarugenge District headquarters yesterday.

Some of the areas where spraying teams have met resistance from such people include Gatsata, Muhima and Tetero, he said.

“These groups of people give reasons that are baseless and have no scientific proof for their claims,’’ Nyaruhirira said.

And prostitutes, according spraying team reports, argue that their rooms are occupied during daytime.

They suggest that spraying should be done in the night at their convenience.

Dr Nyaruhirira urged local leaders to cooperate with the Ministry of Health in sensitising people about the anti-malaria campaign.

Medical entomologist Emmanuel Hakizimana said that the spraying has now reached 52 percent of the 156,000 targeted households in city.

Rwandans should cooperate to have malaria reduced because ICON is effective and harmless, Hakizimana appealed.

He explained that the IRS programme complements other methods of malaria control like the use of insecticide treated nets for children under five years and pregnant women.

The US government is funding the spraying campaign through the Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) in the districts with high malaria prevalence.

The districts are Gasabo, Kicukiro and Nyarugenge. The exercise will be extended Kirehe in Eastern Province and Nyanza in the Southern Province next year.

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