Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) is preparing to resume Malaria prevention campaigns, indoor residual spraying, and mass distribution of 7.5 million mosquito bed nets across the country.
According to RBC, the mass distribution is expected to start next month in Nyamagabe district, Southern Province.
“We shall start with prone areas and high-risk groups; children under five years old and pregnant mothers and the exercise will be scheduled into phases until early next year,” the Head of the Malaria and other Parasitic Infections Unit at RBC, Dr. Aimable Mbituyumuremyi said.
According to Dr. Mbituyumuremyi, Rwf18 Billion funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will be spent on several Malaria prevention programs including procuring bed nets, indoor spraying, and campaigns among others.
With combined efforts, Rwanda recorded a drop in Malaria incidence from 400 per 1000 in 2016 to 148 per 1000 in 2020. Rwanda continued to witness a decrease in Malaria cases from 4.8 million in 2017 to 1.8 million in 2020, a decrease in severe Malaria from 18,000 in 2016 to 3,000 in 2020. Malaria-related deaths decreased from 700 in 2016 to 148 deaths in 2020.
According to RBC, between 2017 and 2021 Rwanda reduced malaria cases by 76%. In 2021, 1.1 million Malaria cases were registered, down from 4.8 million cases in 2017.
The Malaria related deaths decreased by 90%, from 706 in 2016 to 69 last year.
“As USAID we are glad for the work we are doing here in Rwanda; Saving lives for the past fifteen years. Malaria has been killing and still killing people. So, the fight against the disease continues, but also preventing it in communities,” Beata Mukarugwiro, Infectious Disease Specialist at USAID said.
“The funds are expected to buy medicine for people, buy treated bed nets and protect pregnant mothers, they are the most vulnerable,” she added.
Indoor spraying a success
According to Mbituyumuremy, the Indoor Residual Spraying or IRS exercise was completed successfully in July last year.
Indoor Residual Spraying involves the application of a residual insecticide to internal walls and ceilings of housing structures where malaria vectors may come into contact with the insecticide. It is a core vector control intervention that can rapidly reduce malaria transmission in communities.
The exercise, which falls between July and June every fiscal year is done in different phases.
It involves spraying twelve districts and a few sectors in the Rusizi district which are believed to be the most prone areas for malaria across the country. They also include all the seven districts in the Eastern Province, five districts in Southern Province which are Kamonyi, Ruhango, Nyanza, Huye, Gisagara, and some areas in Rusizi District.
The exercise is also extended to the districts of Nyagatare, Kirehe, Ngoma, Bugesera, Gatsibo, Rwamagana and Kayonza.
Mbituyumuremyi said that the 12 districts are chosen for spraying based on the malaria burden.
The new funds ($18M) follow several others, that have been channeled to Malaria prevention tools including the previous $53 million grant from the Global Fund that came as a contribution towards a huge Rwf295Billion required in Malaria prevention and treatment efforts running between 2020 and 2024
The Global Fund is a global partnership designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria as epidemics in more than 100 countries.
The funding was announced in July last year.