First phase of anti-malaria spraying a success
The National Program for the Fight against Malaria (PNLP) recently concluded its first phase of the ICON spraying which was initiated this year as part of its efforts to control malaria through integrated vector control. According to the report given on the success of the spraying, 91.6% success was recorded.
A case study of Kigali district showed that 165,932 house holds were targeted. In the district of Gasabo, 91.4% of the house holds were sprayed while 90.1% were sprayed in Kikukiro. 93% of the house holds in Nyarugenge were also sprayed.
The second phase of the spraying will begin next year and will be done in two phases. The first phase of spraying will be done from January to February during the first dry season, while the second phase will be from July to September during the second dry season of the year. Next year’s spraying will also include Kirehe and Nyanza as well as the district of Nyarugenge.
Emmanuel Hakizimana, an entomologist with PNLP, explained to Focus that the aim of the spraying is to reduce the longevity and infectivity of mosquitoes, “spraying is done inside the house and not outside so as to prevent mosquitoes from dwelling inside the house.”
He added that the anopheles mosquito, which is the malaria causing mosquito, rests for 48 hours inside the house after feeding. This is because the quantity of blood it consumes is twice its body weight therefore making it dangerous to venture in the open. Spraying inside the house is therefore more effective.
However, a number of minor side effects from the spraying were registered, most of which included eye irritations and headaches. Of the 377 reported cases, 84% of them were the above mentioned cases.
Fears and uncertainty
The spraying also faced a few challenges like acceptability of the new method. In the first few weeks of the spraying process, many people did not welcome the method with wide open arms, expressing fears and uncertainty.
Rumors about side effects like infertility also affected the program as some residents completely rejected the spraying, to the extent of locking their homes to prevent the sprayers from coming in.
Limited accessibility to rural house holds also hindered the spraying, leaving some households unsprayed. Religious objections against spraying were another hindrance in the initial stages, but this was later solved through dialogue between the religious leaders and PNLP officials. The lack of experienced personnel to carry out the spraying also reduced on the efficiency of the process.
The impact of the spraying will be assessed using clinical data on malaria cases from health centers, parasitological and entomological data.