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Expanding Coverage to Reduce the Burden of Malaria

PMI VectorLink Rwanda Sprays Refugee Camps with Insecticide to Protect More People from Malaria.

Indoor residual spraying (IRS) is one of the most effective vector control interventions. It kills malaria-carrying mosquitoes by spraying insecticide on walls, ceilings, and other indoor places where mosquitoes rest. Since 2006, the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has protected millions of people in Africa from malaria through IRS. Though effective, IRS is also a costly and complex operation that requires rigorous planning, supervision, and monitoring to ensure its success.

In a collaborative effort with the Rwandan Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Malaria and Other Parasitic Diseases Division (MOPDD), Abt was able to expand its coverage beyond Nyagatare and Kirehe Districts to conduct a spray campaign in Rwanda’s Mahama Refugee Camp. Rwanda established the camp in April 2015 as a humanitarian response to thousands of Burundians fleeing violence in their country. Rwanda is now home to over 45,000 Burundian refugees. Mahama Camp is commonly referred to as Kirehe’s 13th Sector and once contributed 50 percent of the district’s malaria cases. Almost half of the refugees are children, who are particularly vulnerable to malaria.

“Before IRS, it was rare to pass five houses without coming across someone who was suffering from malaria.”

To reduce the burden of the disease at Mahama Camp, the MOPDD and Abt’s PMI VectorLink provided insecticide while the PMI VectorLink team provided technical and operational support during spray activities. As a result, Abt was able to protect 45,447 people from malaria, including 999 pregnant women and 8,658 children under five. While Abt provided the insecticide for spraying in 2021, MOPDD will provide it for the upcoming 2022 campaign, thus reducing costs.

Cedric Niyonkuru, a 25-year-old refugee who fled his home in Burundi during his second year at university, is now living at Mahama Camp. He has seen firsthand how destructive malaria can be to a community. “Before IRS, it was rare to pass five houses without coming across someone who was suffering from malaria. Everyone in the family would get sick – so much so, that no one would be able to care for one another,” he said. “It was terrible. Because of this, other health complications came up. Every day people were dying.”

Since PMI VectorLink introduced IRS at Mahama Refugee Camp, Niyonkuru said, “the community has seen a huge reduction in malaria cases. Now it’s rare to come across anyone who suffers from the disease.”

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