US President George W. Bush’s global anti-HIV/Aids and malaria initiatives are contributing enormously to Rwanda’s fight against both killer diseases, officials have said.
The initiatives include the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) that began its operation in Rwanda in 2004 along with other 14 focus countries worldwide.
And President Malaria Initiative (PMI) was launched in the subsequent year with the goal of reducing malaria-related mortality by 50 percent in each target countries.
The Ministry of Health reports that by November 2007, with the help of PEPFAR and other donors, at least 48,069 Aids patients were on Antiretroviral Therapy.
The initiative has also helped provide care and support services to over 100,000 people affected and infected by the pandemic.
Such services include medical care, psychosocial support, income-generating activities, and prevention efforts against Aids prevalence among Rwandans.
In 2006, with the support of PMI, the number of uncomplicated malaria cases treated in public sector health facilities was over a million, which is 28.4 percent for all outpatients. And as of October 2007, over one hundred thousand households were sprayed in three pilot districts of Gasabo, Kicukiro and Nyarugenge in Kigali City and more than seven hundred thousand people are now protected from malaria.
The PMI has also supported the training of community health workers and implementation of home-based management of malaria in ten districts countrywide.
Since the launch of PEPFAR in 2004, Rwanda has received grant of $271m (about Frw146b), and $20m (about Frw900m) from for PMI.
The State Minister in charge of HIV/Aids and other Infectious Diseases, Dr Innocent Nyaruhirira, yesterday summed up PEPFAR and PMI programmes in Rwanda as stirring goal.
“They have backed our responsibility to reach the goals they have defined. Thanks to President Bush who initiated them to help Rwandans fight Aids and malaria,” he said.
He said that reforming and harmonising efforts of different partners in the HIV/Aids and malaria fight is considered as best way to make it easier to respond to the diseases quickly.
And to deliver the support to all groups of people in need, including those not yet benefited by the national anti-Aids and malaria campaign.