Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We need to take the extra mile to reduce mortality and morbidity due to infectious diseases

The world has made great progress in the fight against infectious diseases. Rwanda is no exception, and yet there is still a long way to go.

The restitution of the mid-term review of malaria progress, disseminated over the last two weeks, show us we can be proud of our achievements. Results showed that in Rwanda, consultation, hospitalization and deaths due to malaria have decreased by over 60%. These are great results but the major lessons learned during the mid term review is that these gain are fragile; and if we don’t keep up efforts we can roll back the malaria-safe environment we have created for our population.

Concerning the fight against HIV, 78% of pregnant women are correctly using PMTCT services along with 75% of they companions. If we take the extra mile, pediatric HIV may become history. As a pediatrician, this is a dream for me. People living with AIDS are currently being provided with universal access to anti-retroviral therapy (ARTs); ARTs is accessible to all those in need ( around 84000 people). And yet, we need to remain vigilant by continuing to perform well in starting treatment on time to and sensitize people to ensure 100% compliance. This will avoid resistance to drugs and future deaths.

In the area of prevention we have the new Prepex device that we have proved to be safe quick and requiring no anesthesia, no sterile environment and no specialized professionals.

Regarding the fight against tuberculosis: the policy for TB/HIV services has led to great success in detection and treatment. But there must be consisten effort to avoid multi-resistance tuberculosis.

At the community level, Community Health Workers are trained by the Ministry of Health on how to treat at home for gastrointestinal diseases with oral rehydration solution and improved diet as well as pulmonary diseases with Ampiciline.

It is clear we have made much progress in tackling communicable diseases; yet we still we face many challenges in basic hygiene such as washing hands, safe latrines etc. The ongoing hygiene campaigns in Rwanda under the leadership of His Excellency President Paul Kagame will help to go the extra mile for the reduction of morbidity and mortality due to infectious diseases. We are working hard on this.