April 19, 2024

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RWANDA TO HOST THE 8TH PAN-AFRICAN MALARIA CONFERENCE ON WORLD MALARIA DAY (WMD) 2024

Rwanda will host the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM Society) 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference (PAMC) from 21-27 April 2024 under the theme “Grassroots Mobilization to End Malaria: Invest, Innovate & Integrate,”. This significant event is expected to draw global experts, scientists, and policy makers to shed light on the importance of innovative approaches and investments to combat malaria in Africa.  

The conference will coincide with World Malaria Day on April 25th, strategically amplifying the focus on global malaria challenges. Attendees of the PAMC will engage in discussions, share experiences, and collaboratively design improved strategies to combat malaria. Moreover, this event serves as a platform for the global malaria-fighting community to acknowledge and celebrate the unwavering efforts of those dedicated to eradicating malaria, a disease that impacts millions on the continent daily.

Malaria: A Critical Health Threat in Africa!

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria remains one of the deadliest diseases globally. In 2022, approximately 249 million cases were recorded, surpassing pre-COVID-19 estimates by an additional five million. The impact is particularly severe in Africa, home to some of the most efficient malaria vectors. In the same year, Africa accounted for 94% (233 million) of all reported malaria cases worldwide and tragically witnessed 95% of all malaria-related deaths. Among the victims, children under 5 years old constituted the majority of fatal malaria cases in Africa accounting for nearly 80% of all malaria deaths in 2022.

Beyond its direct health consequences, malaria presents formidable challenges to socio-economic development. When individuals fall ill, their social interactions and productivity suffer, leading to a compromised quality of life. Moreover, it curtails household income-generating activities, perpetuating conditions that exacerbate poverty and existing inequities. Vulnerable populations are particularly affected, often left behind in the struggle against this disease. Data spanning from 1965 to 1990 further underscore the link between malaria and poverty. Nations grappling with high malaria incidence “grew 1.3% less per person per year and a 10% reduction in malaria was associated with 0.3% higher growth”.

Innovative Solutions to Curb the Challenges of Malaria: The Case of Rwanda

The 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference sheds light on the critical need for innovative solutions in the fight against malaria. In Rwanda, grassroots mobilization has emerged as a powerful force. Community engagement plays a pivotal role, with active participation in surveillance, reporting, prevention, and treatment efforts. Notably, Community Health Workers (CHWs) have been instrumental, diagnosing and treating 60% of all recorded malaria cases in 2023. They also contribute to bed nets need assessment, distribution, and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS). This collaborative approach, combined with the government’s proactive policy directions outlined in the National Malaria Strategic Plan 2020-2024, strengthens Rwanda’s fight against malaria.

These effective measures have significantly reduced the malaria burden in Rwanda. Annual malaria incidence has plummeted from 409 cases per 1000 people in 2016/17 to a mere 47 cases per 1000 in 2022/23. During the same period, malaria cases dropped from 5 million to only 600,000 cases. Furthermore, malaria-related deaths witnessed a remarkable decline of over 89%. The WHO World Malaria Report 2023 also acknowledges Rwanda as one of the five African countries making commendable progress toward meeting the Global Technical Strategy (GTS) target for 2025.

As Rwanda prepares to host the 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference, it aims to share its best practices and foster collaborative forums to combat malaria across the African continent.

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