Malaria fight goes high-tech as Rwanda employs drones

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A drone sprays pesticides in a potato farm in Gataraga Sector, Musanze District. Photo by Regis Umurengezi/The New Times

The Government of Rwanda is using drones in stepped-up efforts to eliminate malaria.

The drones fly over areas with high concentrations of mosquitoes and spray them with insecticide.

According to Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director-General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), the pilot phase will begin in Gasabo District before being rolled out to other parts of the country by the end this year.

Charis Unmanned Aerial Solutions supplies the drones.  The insecticide is made from a  bacteria found in soil.

The drones can fly for about 15 minutes on a single battery and spray an area of 40 hectares in a single day.

A few African countries, including Malawi, have successfully deployed the drones in mapping and spraying mosquito breeding areas.

After recording 436, 000 fewer malaria cases in 2017 compared to 2016, Rwanda is now considered to be under the category of progress by the World Health Organisation.

This coming even as Health experts said on Tuesday that the death of a six-year-old YouTube star from a malaria epidemic in Burundi has spotlighted the growing challenge of combating malaria in a warmer world.

Darcy Irakoze – known as Kacaman – who was popular for his comedy performances on YouTube and in local theaters, died on Thursday after contracting the mosquito-borne disease in his home city of Gitega, east of the commercial capital Bujumbura.

 

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