Rwanda: How Sports Facilities Have Helped in Covid-19 Response Plan and Measures

Residents of Kigali on Car Free Day which returned on September 20.
15 September 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced an extraordinary global shut-down. Just like a number of sectors, the pandemic's impact on sport has been serious. Mega events and sports leagues have been cancelled or postponed, while fitness and sports centers were closed.

However, as the world grapples with the pandemic, sport seems to have played a no small role in the fight to contain the virus. Particularly in Rwanda, sports facilities came in handy in the response plan and measures to deal with the pandemic.

The government has for instance used the Amahoro Stadium for random street testing in Kigali; Kamembe Stadium in Rusizi District, is used as a meeting venue for local leaders to discuss the strategies used in improving the implementation of non-pharmacological interventions against Covid-19, whereas Umuganda Stadium of Rubavu District is used at several occasions in activities related to sample collection during mass screening for Covid-19.

In addition, law enforcers have used the stadiums as spacious venues to accommodate and deliver educational sessions to people who violate the curfew hours and other guidelines.

Speaking to Times Sport on Monday, Dr Menelas Nkeshimana, of the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), who is part of the medical task force team tackling Covid-19, stressed that sports facilities have been and continue to be very helpful.

"When responding to public health threats of great magnitude such as this Covid-19 pandemic, "space" (a component of the 5 S pillars) can be a challenge. It could be the space needed to carry out mass screening activities, space for meetings or educational gatherings while maintaining the required physical distancing, it could also be space needed to host patients or the persons under investigation," explained Dr Nkeshimana.

He added: "If we had to come to a worse scenario where we get too many sick patients that our current bed capacity would be unable to handle, I am sure we would have used the big Stadium of Amahoro, to improvise and set up patients' beds there. Fortunately, it looks like we will not have to do that as the disease is gradually fading away."

In a separate interview, Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director-General of RBC said: "We are using sports facilities to reach and provide health services to as many people as possible. They have really helped the national response plan in many ways."

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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