Home NewsNational PHOTOS: Pan-African Malaria Conference Delegates Join Rwandans For Car Free Day

PHOTOS: Pan-African Malaria Conference Delegates Join Rwandans For Car Free Day

by Daniel Sabiiti
5:22 pm

Thousands turned up for Sunday’s Car Free Day, including

Experts and delegates attending the 8th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Malaria Conference (PAMC) joined the bi-monthly Car free day this Sunday morning to physically exercise and mobilize citizens to take the first steps in preventing malaria.

Community and individual physical exercises are highly encouraged in Rwanda on the Car Free Day- which are held twice a month, usually aimed at increasing body fitness to fight against non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, among others.

Rwanda will host the 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference from 21-27 April 2024 under the theme “Grassroots Mobilization to End Malaria: Invest, Innovate & Integrate,”. as part of events to mark the World Malaria Day 2024.

The PAMC is a significant event that has drawn global experts, scientists, and policy makers to shed light on the importance of innovative approaches and investments to combat malaria in Africa.

Among the notable delegates were former Rwanda’s minister of health, Dr. Daniel Ngamije- who was last year appointed the Director, Global Malaria Programme at the World Health Organisation (WHO) level.

Senior officials and delegates led by the Minister of Health, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, his predecessor and head of Dr. Daniel Ngamije, currently head of Global Malaria Programme (GMP) Director at WHO and SFH’s Manasseh Gihana Wandera, are joined by children.

During the car free day event, the ministry of health reminded participants of best practices to prevent malaria infections especially in Kigali city where the urban life is marked with dwellers spending evening hours outside their homes.

Some of the encouraged best practices or measures to completely eradicate Malaria in Rwanda include: sleep in mosquito nets, use and spray mosquito repellent in homes, to clear bushes and stagnant waters.

Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana said that these practices are a challenge for city dwellers and this is partly one of the reasons why Kigali has one of the highest numbers of malaria infections (along other three districts)- collectively contributing 80% of the new infection cases in the country.

“Malaria incidents are higher in Kigali and in some parts of the South of the country. There are also 3 or 4 districts- that have 80% of all Malaria cases in the country, and that’s where we need to put our efforts,” Nsanzimana said.

Minister Nsanzimana addresses the crowd.

While there is a need to increase preventive behaviors among city dwellers, Nsanzimana said mosquitos have also unprecedentedly changed the ‘tactics’ of spreading the malaria parasite- for instance (mosquito bites are during day and also the parasite has become resistant to available medication.

“We will discuss it with other partners, because there are studies showing that new vaccines and new drugs can be used since mosquitoes are becoming resistant to the usual medication. This is another issue that will be discussed this week (at the conference),” Nsanzimana revealed.

More Challenges Ahead

Rwanda was chosen to host the malaria conference following its 92% reduction in malaria deaths especially through community health workers’ contribution which have, for instance, witnessed malaria incidents (per 1,000 persons per year) drop from 321 cases to 47 and malaria related deaths reduced from 264 cases to 51 cases between the years 2018 to 2023.

As Rwanda plans to eradicate malaria by 2030 (zero malaria), some challenges remain in behavioral change, access to preventives such as repellants, monitoring long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN) which get damaged before the three-year lifespan, and infections from neighboring countries where prevention measures are not at the same pace as Rwanda.

Minister of Health Dr. Nsanzimana says that efforts to eradicate malaria in Rwanda are being hampered by the fact that there are mosquitoes from Burundi infecting the people of the Southern region (especially in Gisagara district).

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