The Ministry of Health recommended two major strategies to lessen the burden of malaria: 1) the use of insecticide-treated bednets for prevention, particularly among vulnerable groups including pregnant women and children under 5; and 2) early diagnosis and treatment with combination therapy amodiaquine and sulfdoxine/pyrimethamine.
To improve compliance, the Ministry of Health has arranged for blister packets containing a complete course of treatment to be made avail-able at a subsidized price of 20 cents (US). To address the related problems of high malaria mortality and low use of health facilities, the program has collaborated with the Ministry of Health’s National Malaria Control Program to authorized the distribution of first-line antimalarial medication by community health workers. The National Malaria Control program has decided to implement the policy in a few districts initially, and has chosen sites that benefit from child survival support from organizations including Concern, IRC, and World Relief (Kibilizi Health District in Butare Province with Concern Worldwide, Kirehe Health District in Kibungo Province with IRC, Kibogora Health District in Cyangugu Province with World Relief). Later, the program extended the pilot to all health centers in the three health districts of Kibilizi, Kirehe and Kibogora.
Major successes include training community health workers to treat pneumonia in children at its first warning signs, launching the program in two new districts, and using the drug artesunate-combination Coartem® for malaria treatment. Further steps have been taken toward integrating home-based management of fever with Community Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (C-IMCI) and into the overall Community Health structure of the Ministry of Heath.