Rwandans have been urged to ensure that their homes and surroundings are kept clean at all times and clear bushes or stagnant water which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Dr Agnes Binagwaho, the Health minister, made the call, yesterday, at a news conference at the ministry headquarters.
She warned that, due to the warm season ahead, malaria cases could shoot up again if caution is not undertaken by homes to supplement government efforts to ensure that no person dies of malaria again.
“In the fight against malaria, we’ve realised that there’s a portion that is still not fully done, and that is the maintenance of sanitation in homes and our environment.
The government can provide bed nets, train community health workers, offer medical insurance but if we ignore the simple things such as cleanliness in our homes and environment, we won’t succeed in the fight against malaria,” she said.
The minister urged the public to seek quick medical attention whenever they fall sick and people without insurance cover to get it.
She added that, in a research conducted two years ago, they found out that people without medical insurance accounted for more than 3 times the deaths resulting from malaria.
“Most people who die from malaria are those without medical insurance because they fear seeking medical care without it. I urge them to get medical insurance because it’s likely that malaria is going to increase. We have trained community health workers to handle cases and they are fully equipped,” she added.
During the implementation of the malaria contingency plan in highly affected areas, the ministry increased the number of effective long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINS), targeted indoor residual spraying and improved the levels of malaria and behavioural management and inspection of insecticides, drugs and malaria commodities.
The number of houses sprayed stands at 453,320 representing 99 per cent in five out of eight highly affected districts.
Also, 2.6 million LLINS have already been distributed and an additional 6 million will be distributed by the end of this year.
Malaria cases have significantly reduced from 2,456,091 last year to 1,353,861 cases this year.
On the issue of bed nets that were once procured and later found not to be effective, the minister said they now conduct their own testing of bed nets even after the World Health Organisation has done its own testing.
This, she said is to ensure that the bed nets are up to the standards as required by MOH.
“Although government is employing different methods to fight against malaria, what is most important is that we embark on maintaining cleanliness in our houses and communities. Hygiene is very important in this fight,” she said.