ALTHOUGH pregnant women and mothers with children aged less than a year get free treated mosquito nets, malaria cases surged to 700,000 at the end of last year.
As Government moves to address this challenge, the Ministry of Health is in the final phase of distributing another 6.2 million treated mosquito bed nets, according to the Head of the Malaria and other Parasitic Infections Unit at Rwanda Biomedical Centre.
The exercise seeks to ensure that all Rwandan households eventually adopt the culture of sleeping under treated bed nets, in the country's quest to uproot Malaria.
Malaria cases have been rising for the last three years, especially in the months of January, May, June, November, and December immediately after the rainy season.
However, despite the efforts in place to fight malaria, more needs to be done to curb the increase in malaria cases across the country.
One of these is to intensify efforts in behavioral change campaigns.
The several interventions like the home-based malaria case management, where the Government trains community health workers, who are then equipped to diagnose and treat malaria at the community level will not deliver desired results without mindset change of people.
There is need for more sensitisation to influence behavioral change at the grassroots level.
This calls for regular sensitization drives on the basics of malaria prevention. Basic things like avoiding any bushes and stagnant water around homesteads are often taken for granted, especially in rural areas.
Communities need regular reminders to ensure a mindset change. We have had cases where mosquito nets are used for other purposes, like fishing, because of this mindset problem. The Ministry of Health should prioritise behavioral change approach as the primary strategy to stamp out malaria. Without behavioral change, the distribution of nets across the country and good facilities to treat malaria will not yield the desired results.