President Paul Kagame, yesterday, received on behalf of Rwanda the prestigious 2012 African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) award. Rwanda was among the seven African countries to receive the Excellence Award for ‘exemplary leadership in accelerating and sustaining access to malaria control and treatment’.
The award was presented to President Kagame during a luncheon hosted by ALMA, held on the sidelines of 18th Ordinary Session of the African
Union. In his acceptance speech, President Kagame noted that the reduction of malaria is a result of the numerous efforts geared towards improving the welfare of the Rwandan people. “Thank you for the award, which I receive on behalf of Rwandans who work so hard to make their lives better” Kagame said.
“The efforts recognized today are proof of what can be done with the resources at our disposal, relevant policies, and a great deal of commitment.” Current figures indicate that deaths due to malaria in Rwanda dropped to only 7% from 60% following years of a rapid scale-up.
The battle against Malaria in the country was characterized by massive distribution of insecticide treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying and a combination of therapies.
Addressing the high profile gathering, that included Heads of State and governments, attending the AU summit, President Kagame called for collaboration among countries in the fight against malaria. “Shared information translates into shared and reduced costs thus helping countries to overcome the issue of insufficient funds,” “If we work together and direct more domestic resources to malaria control, I believe this challenge can be overcome, and we can make even greater strides towards a healthier African population.” Kagame
said, adding that cross border anti-malaria efforts are needed in areas such early detection of drug resistance and harmonization of control interventions. Award recipients were grouped into two categories.
In the First category, Rwanda, Burundi and Mozambique were recognized for having banned the importation and use of oral artemisinin –based monotherapies and removal of tariffs on all essential commodities used in the fight against Malaria. The second category included Benin, Cameroon, Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania.
The four countries were recognized for having made outstanding progress in malaria control over the last year. Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was announced the new chair person of ALMA replacing Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete.