World Malaria Day, which takes place on 25 April each year, is an internationally recognized day, highlighting the global efforts to control malaria and celebrating the gains that have been made. Since 2000, the world has made historic progress against malaria, saving millions of lives. However, half the world still lives at risk from this preventable, treatable disease, which costs a child’s life every two minutes.
On World Malaria Day we mark successes in the fight against malaria, highlight the responsibility we all have to end malaria within a generation and urge leaders to step up the fight and get us closer to a malaria-free world.
Over the past two decades we’ve made great progress in the malaria fight, saving more than 7 million lives and preventing over 1 billion malaria cases.
World Malaria Day 2021 will unify and build on the ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ movement and the ‘Draw the Line Against Malaria’ youth focused campaign. This year’s theme, “Zero Malaria – Draw the Line Against Malaria”, will explore and connect malaria elimination and malaria in high-burden settings.
The objectives for this year’s World Malaria Day are:
- Highlight the successes of countries in the malaria fight.
- Inspire a new group of countries that have the potential to eliminate the disease by 2025.
- Demonstrate that zero malaria is within reach for all countries.
According to WHO, in 2019, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria and 409 000 malaria-related deaths in 87 countries. Children under the age of 5 years in sub-Saharan Africa continued to account for approximately two thirds of global deaths from malaria.
As we celebrate the World Malaria Day, RNMU salutes nurses and midwives who have played a part in curbing malaria prevalence in Rwanda. Nurses are involved in the day today treatment of malaria patients, testing and offering advice to the community on malaria prevention.
In the past, RNMU members together with Gasabo district authorities and of residents in Ngara cell carried out Community Work (Umuganda). This involved clearing bushes that would act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes that spread malaria. This was done in a bid to mitigate malaria spread in the area. Residents were also educated on the importance of regularly clearing bushes in their homes.
The Rwanda Government has taken vivid steps towards zero malaria. Steps have been taken in prevention and treatment of Malaria. As evidenced in the Rwanda Health Demographics Survey 2019 – 2020 about sixty six percent (66%) of households have at least one insecticide-treated mosquito nets. On average, there is 1.3 insecticide-treated mosquito net per household. Community-level protection against malaria helps reduce the spread of the disease and offers an additional layer of protection against malaria for those who are most vulnerable especially children under age 5 and pregnant women.
These and many efforts like community clearing of bushes during Umuganda, testing, efforts of community health workers (Abajyanama b’Ubuzima), increased up take of antimalarial drugs have greatly contributed to the prevalence of malaria in Rwanda.