Rwanda on track to become malaria-free

If all goes according to plan, Rwanda might become the first country in its region to become malaria-free.

Dr. Corine Karema, the director of the malaria unit in TRAC Plus, said that Rwanda will be ready to enter a pre-elimination phase in 2012, according to

"We have a strategic plan to enter a pre-elimination phase in 2012, and according to the internal review we did with the country team, we realized that we have achieved more than 80 percent of our targets," Karema said, according to

Karema made her remarks at the opening of a two week experts meeting aimed at reviewing the progress made regarding malaria controls.

"Today, we have external reviewers who are here to help us know where we are and re-orient our strategies towards pre-elimination of Malaria by 2012," Karema said, reports.

In the pre-elimination phase, the public health sector in Rwanda was tasked with consolidating all of the country’s interventions. It currently plans to upgrade its universal coverage of the distribution of mosquito nets to ensure that they are used throughout the country.

"The next step will be discussing with all neighboring countries to have harmonized Malaria control strategies," Karema said, according to "We have distributed more than six million mosquito nets since 2009 and we ensured that over 90 percent of all households in the country have at least three mosquito nets."

During the same event, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, reiterated that external experts have been brought in to conduct reviews.

"We will review all the achievement and challenges," Binagwaho said, according to "This is going to be done by external reviewers who will look at our policies, strategies and program implementation.

"Malaria control in the country is performing well; we have better results than other countries. Programs are not fragmented; they are all integrated in the basic health care."