The government is set to resume malaria prevention programmes that were temporarily put on hold when coronavirus struck.
This, the government said, will minimise risk of malaria cases rising as the country remains in a partial lockdown.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health indicate that the number of malaria cases reduced to 3.5 million in 2019 from 4.6 million in 2016. The data further shows that cases of severe malaria and number of deaths reduced to 7,000 from 18,000 and 264 from 660 respectively.
Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 94 per cent of all malaria deaths, and the infected are usually younger than five.
If prevention services such as distribution of mosquito nets are abandoned during the pandemic, the number of deaths this year could double, a new World Heath Organisation report cautioned last month.
Officials from Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) said the government is doing everything possible to resume even a few malaria preventive measures that were stopped during the lockdown.
Dr Aimable Mbituyumuremyi head of the malaria and other parasitic infections unit at RBC, told Rwanda Today that begining this month distribution of mosquito bed nets and spraying the most at-risk homes will commence.
“We normally have our teams going out to test for malaria around this time and those found with malaria would receive their treatment. We have now started sending teams out, hence we have picked the outbreaks,” said Dr Mbituyumuremyi.
“We had increased our efforts to fight malaria before the outbreak but because of the pandemic that led to lockdown and restriction on gatherings and movements some preventive activities were put on hold,” said Dr Mbituyumuremyi.
He said before the outbreak the centre had distributed insecticide-treated net to 17 districts, with the remaining 13 set to be covered in current phase.
He further said before the lockdown the entre had sprayed homes and have so far covered 13 out of the 17 high-risk districts.