The annual World Malaria Day will take place in Kirehe district, in the eastern province on Friday April 25. This was revealed by Prof Michael Kramer, the Director General of TRAC-PLUS- the Centre for Infectious Diseases Control- during an exclusive interview on Friday.
The event will begin with the launch of a nationwide distribution of long-lasting treated mosquito nets. Kramer said the campaign would especially benefit HIV positive patients.
“HIV patients have a weak immune system, it is important that we treat all opportunistic diseases especially, Malaria.” he said. The TRAC PLUS boss called for the harmonization of efforts to combat malaria within regional countries.
“We need total cooperation from our regional neighbours, especially Burundi and Tanzania, because of cross boarder movements and similar weather conditions” Kramer said.
Incidentally, the theme for this year’s national is; “Malaria, a Disease without Boarders”, and Kirehe was chosen because of its geographical location.
“Kirehe boarders Tanzania and Burundi, we are sending a message that the fight against malaria can only be won if we partner with our neighbours. We are also hoping to use this chance to launch the distribution of malaria drugs in the private sector.” Said Dr. Corine Karema the director general of the National Malaria Control programme.
Karema said that Antemesurin based combination therapy which sells under the brand name of Coartem, will be launched for commercial distribution in the private sector. Developed and produced by Novartis and its Chinese partners, Coartem is currently the only fixed-dose artemisinin-based combination therapy pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) for procurement by United Nations agencies.
According to available statistics, Rwanda has scaled down malaria drastically, making it the best in the campaign in the whole of Sub Saharan Africa.
Karema said that there were one million malaria cases reported in Rwanda in 2000, but that this year the figure had fallen by 60 percent, “Under-5 child mortality rate has significantly reduced; the proportion of child related deaths attributed to malaria is currently below 5 percent,” she added.
Rwanda’s effort in fighting the disease has received international recognition.