Rwanda Thursday joined the rest the world to mark the 2019 World Malaria Day with a call on Rwandans to embrace preventive measures to fight malaria.
World Malaria Day is marked every April 25 and this year’s theme is ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me.’
Malaria is preventable by clearing bushes around homes and stagnant water which act as breeding ground for mosquitoes, sleeping under treated bed nets and seeking timely treatment at onset of signs of malaria, according to Aimable Mbituyumuremyi, the head of malaria division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC).
Rwanda registered an estimated reduction in the malaria burden by 430 000 fewer cases in 2017 compared to 2016, according to the World Health Organization malaria report 2018 attributable to various factors.
These factors include government commitment, use of community health workers, increased funding for malaria, use of treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying, according to Rwanda Biomedical Center.
According to the report there was slight reduction in malaria cases from 4.8million in 2017 to 4.1million malaria cases in 2018.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) in a statement called for renewed political commitment and allocation of adequate resources to eliminate the disease.
Increased investments in malaria prevention and control will go a long way in fighting the disease, it said.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, called on governments to mobilise all necessary internal and external resources toward elimination of malaria.
Malaria, according to the WHO remains one of the world’s leading killer disease, claiming the life of one child every two minutes.
Most of the deaths are in Africa, where over 250,000 children succumb to the disease every year.
The WHO’s 2018 World Malaria report shows that there were no major gains made in reducing malaria cases in the period 2015 to 2017.
The estimated 435, 000 malaria deaths in 2017, remained virtually unchanged over the previous year.
This year’s World Malaria Day was marked a day after the world’s first malaria vaccine, RTS,S was launched in Malawi on Tuesday.
Moeti said the pace of progress must be accelerated if the world is to achieve a 40 per cent drop in global malaria cases and deaths by 2020, compared to 2015 levels.