Malaria deaths on the decline

Wednesday May 15 2019

patients

Patients at a hearth centre. The country has recorded a consistent decline in malaria deaths between 2005 and 2011. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

LEONCE MUVUNYI
By LEONCE MUVUNYI
More by this Author

Rwanda recorded a consistent decline in malaria morbidity and mortality between 2005 and 2011, largely due to the scale-up of malaria control interventions countrywide.

This includes the use of larvicide and spatial spraying to control mosquitoes from breeding and hence preventing malaria an initiative that was launched in June last year.

The initiative targeted mosquitoes in their breeding habitats. In addition, mosquito breeding sites like marshlands and their surroundings are sprayed with local products from SOPYRWA and AGROPY industries.

However, despite ongoing efforts, the country has witnessed an increase in the rate of malaria incidence from 93 cases back in 2012 to 418 cases out of every 1,000 people in 2017.

But while malaria cases increased, severe malaria and deaths across the country. The country has also stepped up preventive mechanisms such as promoting the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, which are now available countrywide in pharmacies.

However, health experts are calling for supplementary vector control to protect people from being bitten by mosquitos before going to bed.

“The use of supplementary interventions like lotions and coals for repelling mosquitos should be promoted,” said Manasseh Wandera, the executive director of Society for Family Health Rwanda.

The 2018 World Health Organisation report shows that by taking into consideration each country’s population, Rwanda has the highest rate of reported and confirmed malaria cases in East Africa after Burundi.

Recently, WHO together with British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline introduced an injectable vaccine for malaria in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

Medical experts say the decline in malaria cases proves that universal prevention and treatment interventions remain suboptimal due to weak health systems, which in some cases is exacerbated by humanitarian and social crises.

Most of the countries report having experienced stock outs especially during malaria outbreaks and the health information systems are not sufficiently robust to act promptly and efficiently during epidemics.

“We will not achieve universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals without addressing the issue of malaria.

Despite each country having interventions in its own boundaries, cross-border interventions have been neglected,” said Michael Katende, the acting head of Health Department at EAC secretariat.

According to regional experts, even when the investments are made, they are sometimes not being used to implement the most cost-effective interventions.

Advertisement