Today, Rwanda joins the Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement, in a drive to accelerate malaria elimination across the African continent.
The Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign, launched in 2018 by H.E. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in his role as Chair of the African Union, seeks to build community ownership of malaria efforts and increase political commitment for malaria elimination.
As part of the campaign, all Rwandans will be urged to step up the fight against the disease, from political leaders to the private sector and local communities.
Rwanda is among a handful of countries globally that succeeded in driving down malaria cases in recent years. One key success factor is the increased use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, which went from 17% to 75% in just 10 years among pregnant women, contributing to a maternal mortality reduction of 72%. However, despite recent progress, Rwanda is still among the 15 countries with the highest burden of malaria worldwide.
Dr Diane Gashumba, Rwandan Minister of Health, explains that currently in Rwanda, more than 50% of cases are treated by Community Health Workers, which shows how actively our people are able to participate in malaria elimination initiatives and which is leading to an over 60% reduction of mortality due to malaria (from 2016 to date). “These community-led actions have significantly helped reduce malaria cases, and through Zero Malaria Starts with Me, we hope they can further be involved in improving our nation’s health,” said Dr Diane.
According to Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, Chief Executive Officer, RBM Partnership to End Malaria, there is no better way to start the Decade of Action to achieve Sustainable Development Goals than by celebrating the distribution of the 2 billionth mosquito net worldwide and another country joining the pan-African Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement. “Together, we can achieve zero malaria within a generation—a major and historic achievement that will unlock economic and social potential of our communities, countries and the entire continent.”
The launch of Rwanda’s Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign also featured the using of drones for larviciding to reduce the adult population of mosquitoes and showcased other innovative vector control tools. Other key activities include a mass mosquito net distribution, of which some of them will be locally produced, and indoor residual spraying campaigns in malaria-endemic regions.
Hosted in Kigali, the launch of the national campaign was attended by representatives of the Rwandan Ministry of Health, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), and the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).
The launch of Zero Malaria Starts with Me in Rwanda builds on ongoing collaboration between the Government of Rwanda, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and other global partners in the fight against malaria, including the first-ever Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical diseases to be held on 25 June 2020 in Kigali alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).