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Malaria Society Wants Rwanda Best Practices Adopted in Africa

by Daniel Sabiiti
1:40 am

Primer Minister Edouard Ngirente receiving Professor Rose Leke(L) and her delegation last week

The Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Society has asked Rwanda to help the organization in promoting and sharing best practices as a way of enabling other countries to win the war on malaria.

The call was made by Professor Rose Leke, Co-Chair of MIM Society (MIMSOC) who met with Rwanda’s Prime Minister, Dr. Édouard Ngirente this April 26, 2024.

The meeting comes at a time when Rwanda is hosting the 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference and celebrations to mark the World Malaria Day from 21st-27th, 2024 under the theme: “Grassroots Mobilization to End Malaria: Invest, Innovate & Integrate” bringing together over 2,000 global health experts, researchers, policy makers, innovators.

Leke said that at the conference, Rwanda was able to demonstrate how it has put in place structures to reduce malaria and leading other African countries in the end malaria agenda, of which others should learn from its strategies and best practices, moving forward after the continental meeting.

“So we also came to the Prime Minister to ask him that the government (of Rwanda) should help us to carry this message- the best practice in Rwanda, to take it to other countries,” Leke said.  “So that the other countries that have such high malaria burdens will learn from what has happened in Rwanda and then be able to (also) reduce malaria,” Leke added while briefing local media shortly after the meeting with PM Ngirente.

The 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference held in Kigali focused on malaria prevention, elimination and collaboration to meet the Global Technical Strategy (GTS) for malaria 2016–2030 to accelerate progress towards malaria elimination.

The GTS targets a global reduction of at least 90% in malaria case incidence and mortality rates, and elimination in at least 35 countries by 2030.

According to Leke, this requires a change of mindset to spread the message across the board and this change has already happened in Rwanda which has seen a reduction in malaria cases (incidents and deaths) – with efforts of community engagement playing a significant role.

For instance, malaria incidents (1,000 persons/year) dropped from 321 cases to 47 and malaria related deaths reduced from 264 cases to 51 cases between the years 2018 to 2023 and Community health workers contributing 59% of cases handled in the fiscal year 2022/2023.

Leke said that Rwanda can help the MIM Society to push the end malaria agenda on the continent especially in areas of political commitments from other Heads of State, and various ministries of health on the continent.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Transformation Agenda (TA), initiated in 2015, aimed to change WHO into a proactive, results-driven, accountable organization that would optimally meet stakeholder expectations. The battle against malaria falls under the smart technical programmatic focus of the TA, due to its high endemicity, morbidity and mortality in the African Region.

Significant improvements were recorded from 2015, with crucial reductions in case numbers achieved in several countries, including Mauritania (-71%), Ethiopia (-70%), Zimbabwe (-68%), The Gambia (-53%), Rwanda (-53%), South Africa (-40%) and Ghana (-33%). Reduced death rates were also recorded in Zimbabwe (-68%), Ethiopia (- 64%), South Africa (-49%), Togo (-28%), Sierra Leone (-24%), Central African Republic (-17%) and Burkina Faso (-14%).

Cabo Verde was the only country in the African Region to eliminate malaria since 2018 and has applied for certification of malaria elimination. However, lack of progress in high-burden countries caused stalling in regional progress and prompted action to help the ten highest-burden countries get back on track.

Rwanda’s Minister of Health. Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana said that the government is focusing on eliminating malaria especially in the few malaria prone areas in the southern, northern province and Kigali, but also use drone spraying technology among current Integrated vector management (IVM) for malaria control in these areas.

Nsanzimana also revealed that the MIM Society approved two more major health meetings that will take place in Kigali this year, following the country’s recognition in making progress and successfully hosting the 2024 Pan-African Malaria Conference.

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