Rwanda is set to launch new initiatives designed to ensure a malaria free society.
Rwanda joins the international community to mark World Malaria Day today, Dr Aimable Mbituyumuremyi, Head of Malaria Division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), told The New Times that the new initiatives will focus on prevention.
Among the preventive measures being lined up by the end of this year include more vector control methods, and outdoor spraying in order to kill the mosquitoes at the larva stage.
This is in addition to the indoor residual spraying.
Larvicide spray targets larvae in the breeding habitat before they can mature into adult mosquitoes and disperse.
Larvicide treatment of breeding habitats helps reduce the adult mosquito population in nearby areas. Liquid larvicide products are applied directly to water using backpack sprayers or other tools like trucks.
According to Mbituyumuremyi, this method has been piloted in different parts of the country albeit on a small scale.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Rwanda recorded 430,000 fewer malaria cases in 2017 as compared to 2016.
Health minister Diane Gashumba.
This achievement was registered owing to different strategies ranging from Home Based Management for Malaria at community level countywide, to distribution of long lasting insecticide nets.
From November 2016 to March 2017, more than 5 million bed nets were distributed countrywide while indoor residual spraying is being conducted in high burden districts including Kirehe, Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Bugesera, Nyanza, Huye and Gisagara.
Effective November 2016, all people under the household socio-economic categories, Ubudehe 1 and 2, countrywide were given access to free malaria diagnosis and treatment.
The Government says that it plans to start the distribution of mosquito repellents to complement existing measures to fight malaria.
CS Johnson, an American company, has partnered with the Ministry of Health to develop a couple of mosquito repellent solutions for Rwandans, according to government officials.
Asked about whether Rwanda would consider rolling out the recently introduced malaria vaccine, Dr Diane Gashumba, the Minister of Health, said that they are monitoring how the vaccine works elsewhere and how important it can be.
“If we find it necessary, we will join that programme,” she said.