Diane Gashumba, Rwanda's health minister, launched a six-month campaign dubbed "Zero malaria starts with me" on Jan 28 in the country's capital Kigali. Gashumba said the nationwide campaign will involve the use of drones to spray larvicides in mosquito breeding sites.
File photo: VCG
According to reports by Xinhua News Agency, the Rwandan government is partnering with Charis Unmanned Aerial Solutions, a local drone technology company, to employ the drones to fight malaria.
"The campaign will complement Rwanda's existing efforts to prevent and combat malaria through different treatment and preventive measures across the country," Gashumba said during the launch.
Gashumba also called on Rwandans to ensure proper domestic hygiene through clearing bushes and stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.
Each drone will be fitted with a 10-liter tank carrying insecticide and will follow a pre-mapped route. The drones will spray mosquito breeding sites in the suburbs of Kigali.
According to a report by the Rwanda Biomedical Center, malaria cases dropped from 4.8 million in 2018 to 3.7 million in 2019.
"Rwanda registered reduced malaria cases owing to different strategies. Under the government's Malaria Contingency Plan, different strategies have been implemented and they have significantly reduced severe malaria cases and deaths," the Rwanda Biomedical Center reported.
The report also indicates the success witnessed in Rwanda's fight against malaria is owed to the fact more than 50 percent of malaria cases are now treated by Community Health Workers.
"With the introduction of home-based management of malaria for both adults and children through Community Health Workers, malaria patients are being diagnosed and treated early," the report stated.
As part of its accelerated efforts to fight malaria, Rwanda's health ministry has also announced it will hold the Global Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases summit in June this year in its capital Kigali.
Rwanda has been on the forefront in Africa in using technology to overcome challenges in its health sector. In 2016 Rwanda became the first country in the world to commercially use drones to deliver medical supplies by ferrying vital medical supplies like blood and medicine to its far-flung hospitals by air.
Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya contributed to this story.