As Rwanda plans to enter the malaria pre-elimination phase next year, the recently released Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) report shows a significant decline in malaria incidences.
The decrease is attributed to several measures in place, including the distribution of long lasting mosquito nets, advanced treatment and improved sensitisation.
According to the survey, prevalence of malaria among women has reduced by half compared to the previous survey.
In 2008, malaria prevalence among women was at 1.4 percent while the 2010 DHS report states that only 0.7 percent of women had malaria – which demonstrates a significant decline.
“Between 2005 and 2010, there has been a decline in malaria incidence by 70 percent, while malaria morbidity declined by 60 percent from 1.67 million cases to 670,000 malaria cases. There has also been a 54 percent decline in malaria deaths from 1,450 to 670 deaths,” the Director General of Malaria unit in TRAC Plus, Dr. Corine Karema said.
Among children, Karema noted malaria prevalence fell from 2.6 percent in 2008 to 1.4 percent in 2010.
The report also indicates that 82 percent of the population had been provided with long lasting mosquito nets.
“At least two long lasting mosquito nets were distributed in all households countrywide. We have also provided Artemisinin-Combination Therapies, (ACTs) in all public health facilities and the community,” she said.
The survey, however, shows that children in the Eastern and Southern Provinces are more prone to malaria compared to other provinces.
Karema said that the two provinces always have a higher prevalence due to their geographical location.
“From January to June this year, 70 percent of malaria cases were recorded in the Eastern Province and for the month of June, Eastern Province had 84 percent of malaria cases while Nyagatare District alone accounted for 45 percent of all malaria cases,” Karema said.
She hastened to add that some of the reasons behind the high prevalence rates in the Eastern Province are related to low use of mosquito nets, inappropriate environmental management, poor hygiene, insufficient sensitisation of communities on malaria control interventions and late treatment.
“As a result of this, we held meetings with local leaders and head of health centres who agreed to increase sensitisation and close follow up of malaria control interventions and use of long lasting mosquito nets,” she said.