Mass sensitization key to winning fight against malaria

This week, officials from the Centre for Treatment and Research on Aids, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other epidemics (TRAC Plus) and the Research Triangle International (RTI) said malaria infection could diminish by 90 percent, by the year 2012 if indoor residual spraying is fully embraced by Rwandans.

This week, officials from the Centre for Treatment and Research on Aids, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other epidemics (TRAC Plus) and the Research Triangle International (RTI) said malaria infection could diminish by 90 percent, by the year 2012 if indoor residual spraying is fully embraced by Rwandans.

Malaria infection has gone down by 60 percent largely due to indoor residual spraying and the use of long lasting insecticidal nets which were introduced in 2007.

Rwanda is now the fourth in Africa in fighting malaria, after Eritrea, Zanzibar, and Djibouti. A survey conducted by RTI - that is in charge of the spraying operations - indicates that 227,440 children under five and 21,606 of pregnant women were protected from malaria this year.

Malaria kills about one million people, worldwide, annually, and 9 out of 10 are Africans. According to the World Health Organization, the disease costs Africa an estimated $12 billion a year in health expenditures and lost productivity.

But there are rays of hope in Rwanda. Distributing mosquito nets and residual spraying in the homes is very important but also educating the community on the importance of sleeping under mosquito nets is vital.

Following the positive outcome realized as a result of these methods, it is important that massive awareness campaigns that promote these methods are continuously conducted.

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