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Rwanda’s malaria deaths drop in 2017 – official

Severe malaria cases and deaths declined in Rwanda in 2017, an official said Wednesday.

Malaria deaths dropped from about 490 in 2016 to 300 in 2017 thanks to interventions, said the Director of Vector Control of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Emmanuel Hakizimana.

The interventions by the government include distribution of treated bed nets, training community health workers on treating malaria among adults, unlike before when they only treated children under five, according to the Rwanda biomedical centre.

In Rwanda the national celebrations of the World Malaria Day were postponed until May to coincide with the national health week, according to the ministry of health.

In Rwanda, malaria cases jumped to 4.7 million in 2017 up from 400,000 cases in 2014, statistics from the Rwanda Biomedical Center show.

Districts in eastern Rwanda such as Kirehe, Bugesera and Ngoma were mapped as most prone to malaria outbreaks, according to the centre.

Aimable Mbituyumuremyi, Director of other blood-borne Infections and Sexually Transmitted Infections unit at Rwanda Biomedical Centre, on Wednesday attributed the increasing malaria cases to increased resistance to interventions, saying mosquitoes adapted to drugs and prevention mechanisms.

In 2016, there were an estimated 445,000 deaths from malaria globally, 91 per cent of which are in Africa, according to the World Health Organisation.

Fifteen countries accounted for 80 per cent of global malaria deaths in 2016 and all of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, except for India, said the report. (Reuters/NAN)

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