Rwanda: Daily Covid-19 Tests to Double By August

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus at a Coronavirus press briefing in Geneva (file photo).

Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) on Monday, July 27 announced that the country's number of daily Covid-19 tests will double by August this year, from the current average of 5,000 to 10,000 sample tests per day.

This was said by Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director-General of RBC during an interview with The New Times.

"We plan to attain 10,000 test per test in a month forward," he highlighted.

The target will be a milestone in the country's efforts to contain the pandemic, putting into consideration that when Rwanda confirmed her first Covid-19 case in mid-March, the country would conduct only 300 sample tests within 24 hours.

In the beginning, testing was only done at the Kigali-based National Reference Laboratory

The current gains, he said, are a result of investments made by the government towards setting up necessary infrastructure to combat the global pandemic, among other efforts.

For instance, the country so far has a total of seven Covid-19 testing labs across the country and the National Reference Laboratory.

According to Nsanzimana, there are plans to establish another Covid-19 testing laboratory in Northern Province in the near future.

He said: "We are going to establish a Covid-19 laboratory at Musanze Hospital, Northern Province in this coming month of August."

So far, Northern Province is the only province without a Covid-19 testing laboratory.

As reiterated by different health specialists, increasing the number of Covid-19 tests is essential because it ensures that there are no unnoticed havens for the pandemic in a given country and may also be useful for the government while making appropriate decisions after knowing the state of this virus in that particular location.

In total, the country has conducted 242,129 Covid-19 sample tests, of which, over 1800 returned positive.

Decentralizing prevention efforts

In bid to further contain the pandemic in the country, RBC recently announced that Community Health Workers (CHWs) will soon be engaged in the Coronavirus treatment process.

This development, according to RBC, was adopted due to the significant role played by the community health workers in reducing Malaria deaths in the country.

For instance, these CHWs have reduced malaria deaths by 60%, according to the statistics issued by RBC.

In this regard, Nsanzimana noted that there are trainings in the pipeline to be given to CHWs.

"Community Health Workers are going to receive trainings on infection prevention and control, basic care of Covid-19 patients, and education/awareness messages as well as protective equipment," he told this Paper on Monday.

Everyone's efforts are necessary

Rwanda currently has a total of 1,821 Covid-19 confirmed cases of whom 918 have already recovered.

Though Kigali is currently the leading hotspot of this pandemic in the country, Nsanzimana noted that preventive measures should be observed everywhere by everyone so as to contain it.

He said: "Covid-19 is likely to move where people move most, Kigali is an example. However, all other provinces had cases and could be affected. Therefore, it is everyone's responsibility to wear masks all time in public, keep a meter distance and wash hands so we can stop this virus until we get a vaccine."

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