Officials from Southern Province and the Ministry of Health have launched campaign to raise awareness about malaria prevention in Gisagara District ahead of the rainy season that starts next month.
The move has been partly prompted by the fact that with 25 deaths recorded last year, Gisagara District had the highest number of malaria deaths in the country.
Emmanuel Gasana, the Governor of Southern Province, said that despite having a high number of people with mutuelle de santé – community health insurance – the district has the highest number of malaria victims.
“This district has been outstanding in having (health) insurance cards, yet we still have the most number of malaria victims in the whole province, and this is something that we truly can change,” the Governor stated.
He, however, commended Rwanda Biomedical Centre for organising a campaign to raise awareness about malaria prevention.
The residents were encouraged to clear the bushes around their homes, sleep under insecticide treated mosquito nets as well as seeking early treatment for those who have been infected.
Valeria Umuhoza, a resident of Gisagara District, told The New Times that the negative mindset characterised by the reluctance of people to sleep under mosquito nets was one of the obstacles to fighting malaria.
Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director General of RBC, said that this is the right time to fight against malaria given that the rains are approaching and mosquitoes breed very fast during the rainy seasons.
Seven sectors of the district border Akanyaru swamp, a good breeding place for mosquitoes.
Since January this year, the number of malaria illnesses in Gisagara reduced from 12,345 people to 1,334 thanks to increased distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets as well as increased awareness by district authorities.
According to official statistics, last year only 50 per cent of those suffering from malaria in the district consulted community health workers, well below the national threshold of 56 per cent.
Gisagara District has 2000 community health workers who supplement professional health officers.
They are usually the first line of defence and act as early warning conduits for any disease.