ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: To control malaria, the Rwandan government and its partners distributed insecticide-treated nets (ITN) and made artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) widely available from 2005 onwards. The impact of these interventions on malaria cases, admissions and deaths was assessed using data from district hospitals and household surveys. METHODS: District records of ITN and ACT distribution were reviewed. Malaria and non-malaria indictors in 30 district hospitals were ascertained from surveillance records. Trends in cases, admissions and deaths for 2000 to 2010 were assessed by segmented log-linear regression, adjusting the effect size for time trends during the pre-intervention period, 2000-2005. Changes were estimated by comparing trends in post-intervention (2006-2010) with that of pre-intervention (2000-2005) period. All-cause deaths in children under-five in household surveys of 2005 and 2010 were also reviewed to corroborate with the trends of deaths observed in hospitals. RESULTS: The proportion of the population potentially protected by ITN increased from nearly zero in 2005 to 38% in 2006, and 76% in 2010; no major health facility stock-outs of ACT were recorded following their introduction in 2006. In district hospitals, after falling during 2006- 2008, confirmed malaria cases increased in 2009 coinciding with decreased potential ITN coverage and declined again in 2010 following an ITN distribution campaign. For all age groups, from the pre-intervention period, microscopically confirmed cases declined by 72%, (95% Confidence Interval [CI], 12-91%) in 2010, slide positivity rate declined 58%, (CI, 47%-68%), malaria inpatient cases declined 76% (CI, 49%-88%); and malaria deaths declined 47% (CI, 47%-81%). In children below five years of age, malaria inpatients decreased 82% (CI, 61%-92%) and malaria hospital deaths decreased 77% (CI, 40%-91%). Concurrently, outpatient cases, admissions and deaths due to non-malaria diseases in all age groups either increased or remained unchanged. Rainfall and temperature remained favourable for malaria transmission. The annual all-cause mortality in children under-five in household surveys declined from 152 per 1,000 live births during 2001-2005, to 76 per 1,000 live births in 2006-2010 (55% decline). The five-year cumulative number of all-cause deaths in hospital declined 28% (8,051 to 5,801) during the same period. CONCLUSIONS: A greater than 50% decline in confirmed malaria cases, admissions and deaths at district hospitals in Rwanda since 2005 followed a marked increase in ITN coverage and use of ACT. The decline occurred among both children under-five and in children five years and above, while hospital utilization increased and suitable conditions for malaria transmission persisted. Declines in malaria indicators were more striking than in the older age groups. The resurgence in cases associated with decreased ITN coverage in 2009 highlights the need for sustained high levels of anti-malarial interventions in Rwanda and other malaria endemic countries.
Malaria Journal 07/2012; 11(1):236. · 3.19 Impact Factor