Rwanda to host 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference

By Esther Muhozi
On 24 April 2024 at 12:19

Rwanda is set to host the 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference (PAMC), organized by the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM Society). Scheduled on 25th April 2024, the conference is perfectly timed to coincide with World Malaria Day, providing a strategic moment to highlight the persistent and pervasive challenges of malaria, particularly in Africa.

Set under the theme "Grassroots Mobilization to End Malaria: Invest, Innovate & Integrate," this event promises to bring together a diverse group of experts, scientists, and policymakers.

Malaria continues to pose a significant health threat globally, with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting approximately 249 million cases in 2022. The situation is particularly dire in Africa, which accounted for 94% of these cases and 95% of malaria-related deaths. The majority of these fatalities involve children under five, emphasizing the devastating impact of this disease on the most vulnerable populations.

Socio-Economic Impacts of Malaria

The effects of malaria extend beyond health, significantly hindering socio-economic development. The disease reduces social interaction and productivity, affecting the quality of life and economic opportunities. High malaria incidence is correlated with slower economic growth, with data indicating that nations heavily affected by malaria experienced significantly reduced economic expansion.

Rwanda’s Innovative Approaches to Malaria Prevention

As the host nation, Rwanda exemplifies the success of innovative and community-based approaches to combating malaria. The involvement of Community Health Workers (CHWs) has been crucial. In 2023, CHWs diagnosed and treated 60% of all recorded malaria cases in Rwanda, showcasing the effectiveness of grassroots involvement in disease management. Their efforts are supported by comprehensive strategies such as bed net distribution and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS).

Thanks to these measures, Rwanda has seen a dramatic reduction in malaria incidence and deaths. From 2016/17 to 2022/23, annual malaria cases per 1000 people dropped from 409 to 47, and the country has been recognized by the WHO for its progress towards the 2025 Global Technical Strategy (GTS) targets.

Collaborative Efforts to Eradicate Malaria

The PAMC offers an excellent platform for sharing these successes and fostering international collaboration. Discussions and workshops during the conference will focus on improving strategies to combat malaria, emphasizing the need for continued investment and innovation.

Moreover, the timing of the conference—culminating on World Malaria Day—underscores the global commitment to ending malaria. This day serves as a reminder of the need to sustain efforts and support the communities most affected by this disease.

As Rwanda prepares to share its insights and strategies during the 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference, the event symbolizes a beacon of hope and a call to action. It provides an opportunity not only to reflect on the strides made but also to galvanize further support for the ongoing fight against malaria, a fight that is crucial for the health and well-being of millions across Africa and the world.