Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) has launched a new mosquito insecticide, Acstelli, officially kick-starting its use in indoor residual spraying in the country.
This was announced, on Wednesday, at the launch of New Generation Indoor Residual Spraying (NenIRS) project in Kigali.
The continental project seeks to combat malaria in over 10 African countries, including Benin, Mali, Kenya, Madagascar, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana and Rwanda.
The project aims at accelerating and expanding access to and adoption of the third generation (3GIRS) of indoor residual spraying formulations that overcome insecticide resistance and increase the effective lifetime of indoor residual spraying products.
The goal of the NgenIRS project is sustainable and rational deployment of effective malaria vector control tools in insecticide resistance management programmes to save lives and improve health.
Speaking at the launch, Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, the state minister for health, said the new insecticide has been proven to overcome resistance that the mosquitoes had gained over the formerly used pesticides.
Dr Ndimubanzi said that, by the end of the year, eight malaria prone districts in the country will have been sprayed with the insecticide.
He called on the media and other stakeholders in the country to take the step of sensitising the public not only about indoor residual spraying but also other preventive measures.
The meeting brought together different stakeholders in the fight against malaria in Africa and partner organisations, including Innovative Vector Control Consortium, UNITAID, and the US President’s Malaria Initiative.
The meeting also looked at doing publicity aiming at helping African countries to know how they can get this insecticide at relatively lower prices as well as encouraging research on new insecticides.
Dr Aimable Mbitumuremyi, the head of malaria division at RBC, said that although Actellic is expensive, it is a more reliable insecticide.
He said it is sprayed only once a year since it stays active in the house for twice as long compared to the formerly used insecticides that would only last six months.
A bottle of Actellic costs $29 (about Rwf23,000). A bottle is estimated to be enough to spray one household.
Robert Matiru, the director of operations at UNITAID, said the insecticide has had good results in countries where it has been used, describing the level of interest in it as “phenomenal.”
The Director-General of RBC, Dr Jeanine Condo, said there are other programmes to fight malaria besides indoor residual spraying.
Among these, she said, before the year ends, six million long lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets will be distributed all over the country.
Since 2000, malaria mortality rates in Africa have fallen by 66 per cent overall and 71 per cent among children under 5.