The Ministry of Health has announced that it will this year start to distribute the first mosquito nets that are made in Rwanda.
Located at Kigali’s Special Economic Zone, Garment Vision Ltd, a local company, launched its operations in March last year and started with installation of equipment and training staff.
Production started about five months back.
Dr Aimable Mbituyumuremyi, Malaria and Other Parasitic Diseases Division Manager, Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), told Saturday Times that out of seven million mosquito nets that are set to be distributed, 3.5 million were locally produced.
The factory is currently producing 16,200 mosquito nets per day. It targets to manufacture 1.7 million treated mosquito nets every month and 88 metric tonnes of garments after announcing an investment outlay of Rwf38 billion.
It aims to produce at least 8 million mosquito nets per year for the Rwandan market with plans to exports to countries such as Angola, Zambia, and Nigeria which have been importing mosquito nets from Europe and Asia.
The move will reduce trade deficit since Rwanda used to spend a staggering $17 million (Rwf15 billion) every year on importing mosquito nets.
“The drive is part of measures to eliminate malaria incidence and deaths. The mosquito nets will be distributed across the country to citizens under the first and second category of Ubudehe and some from the third category free of charge,” he said, adding that mass distribution of mosquito nets happens every two or three years to these categories.
The latest distribution was in 2017.
However, he said that regular distribution is carried out for pregnant women and under one-year children considering who they are most vulnerable to malaria infection.
“Other people can buy them in pharmacies if they need,” he said.
Mbituyumuremyi said that combined efforts will ensure reduction of malaria incidence by 50 per cent for 2023 and by at least 90 per cent by 2030.
“We are also devising new strategies to run up to 2024. We hope that locally producing the mosquito nets will solve the issue of delay while they will be available at an affordable price. This will also ease the supervision,” he said.
Malaria cases increased between 2012 and 2016 and the most affected districts were in the Eastern and Southern parts of the country.
Following the Malaria Contingency Plan put in place in 2016, a 50 per cent decrease in severe malaria cases and mortality in the last two years was registered and the national incidence remained stable with 401 cases per 1,000 population in 2017 compared with 403 in 2016.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health shows that between2016 and 2017, malaria cases stabilized, with 4,746,958 confirmed cases reported in 2017 and minimally decreased from 4,794,778 cases in 2016.Follow NkurunzizaMiche