The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) today presented Rwanda with the 2016 Award for Excellence in two categories, one for performance in malaria control from 2011 to 2015 and one for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target for malaria reduction.
Rwanda was one of eight countries to meet the MDG target and one of 13 overall that were recognised for their progress in the fight against malaria.
There has been a significant decline in malaria cases and deaths in Rwanda, with the World Health Organisation projecting that the country will reduce the malaria incidence by more than 75 percent for the period between 2000 and 2015.
“The country has exceeded the Abuja target of allocating at least 15 percent of its annual budget to improve the health sector, committing more than 22 percent of the total government expenditure since 2009 to health. Rwanda has further enhanced its commitment to health with a 22 percent increased investment in HIV, TB and malaria for the period 2014-2017,” reads a statement by ALMA.
Africa has achieved historic progress in the fight against malaria over the past 15 years. Since 2000, malaria mortality rates in Africa have fallen by 66 percent among all age groups and by 71 percent among children under 5.
Annual malaria deaths in Africa have decreased from an estimated 764,000 in 2000 to 395,000 in 2015.
Approximately 663 million cases of malaria have been averted in sub-Saharan Africa over the last 14 years.
According to the World Health Organization, reductions in malaria cases attributable to malaria control activities saved an estimated $900 million in case management costs from 2001 to 2014.
“Rwanda is a stunning example of what happens when a nation and its leaders commit to tackling malaria head on,” said Joy Phumaphi, executive secretary of ALMA.
“By making significant investments in its health care services, particularly in fighting the deadly diseases of malaria, HIV and tuberculosis, the Rwandan government is getting ever closer to achieving the ultimate goal of eliminating malaria for good.”
However, the past few months have seen cases of malaria increase in Rwanda, and this has been attributed to decline in the quality of mosquito nets distributed among other reasons.