Government has successfully controlled the misuse of mosquito bed nets, a vice that had developed among residents who reside close to rivers or lakes.
According to the head of the malaria unit in TRAC plus, Dr. Corrine Karema, this was a common problem around Lake Kivu.
“Three years back, it was confirmed that people around these areas use the government distributed mosquito nets for fishing yet we purposely distribute them as part of the national malaria control programme,” she said.
“In a bid to curb this vice, various measures were put in place such as arrest of culprits and heavy fines among others. Close follow up is done by local leaders and as per today, we do not have such a problem.”
Karema was quick to add that those who were diverting the nets for other uses are only a very small percentage emphasizing that this cannot in any way affect government’s efforts towards malaria prevention.
“Authorities responsible for curbing over-fishing in the country’s water bodies are also at work hence intensifying the crackdown on use of bed nets for this purpose,” Karema added.
Another official in PSI Rwanda, an organization that collaborates with government to boost health, also concurred that misuse of bed nets is no longer a problem.
“This malaria prevention measure is one of the effective ones. In fact, this year alone we have already distributed 700,000 nets in the districts of Nyagatare, Nyanza Gatsibo, Kayonza, Nyamasheke, Rusizi and Gisagara.”
The official explained that 1,600,000 more nets are set to be distributed countrywide by the end of this year adding that the main aim is to control malaria deaths among children below the age of five.
Ministry of Health statistics show that in the past two years, malaria morbidity in the country reduced by 60 percent, which is attributed to various prevention measures such as bed nets, indoor residual spraying and effective treatment.