On April 25th 2023, the world celebrated the annual World Malaria Day, held every year to raise awareness and mobilize action against Malaria, a deadly disease that affects millions of people around the world. In Rwanda, the day was celebrated in Gicumbi district, located in the Northern Province of the country under the theme “Zero Malaria starts with me: Time to Innovate, Focus and implement”.
Community members, representatives from the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), development partners, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and other partners joined Rwanda NGOs Forum in Gicumbi district to commemorate this significant day. The event was marked by a number of activities, such as speeches and commitments from officials, exhibitions by various partners, and other events.
In his opening remarks, the Mayor of Gicumbi district/ Mr. Emmanuel Nzaponimpa, emphasized the importance of stakeholder’s collaboration in the fight against Malaria. He urged community members to take an active role in the prevention and control of Malaria by adopting practices such as sleeping under treated mosquito nets, seeking prompt diagnosis and treatment, and keeping their environment clean to reduce breeding sites for mosquitoes.
The representative of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Rwibasira Gallican, highlighted progress made by the Government Rwanda in the fight against Malaria. He noted that the country has achieved significant reductions in malaria cases and deaths over the past decade.
According to the World Health Organization, 600,000 malaria-related deaths were recorded worldwide in 2021. In Rwanda, community health workers (CHWs) are at the heart of Malaria response and are the driving force behind every victory in the fight against malaria. Since CHWs are stationed in every village, they are able to treat 55% of all cases at the community level.
Malaria cases that are uncomplicated decreased from almost 1.4 million in 2020/2021 to less than a million in 2021/2022; Although the country has significantly reduced malaria incidence over the past six years whereby it recorded 81% drop in Malaria incidence from 409 in 2017 to 76 in 2023 and Malaria-related deaths fell by 73 per cent, from 264 to 71 deaths; the disease still affects the population, hence the call to continue implementing measures to eradicate Malaria nationwide.