Rwanda: Covid-19 - Some Treatment Centres Closed As Cases Ease

19 October 2020

As Rwanda continues to experience a surge in recoveries and a reduction in the number of active cases of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health has closed a number of treatment facilities, some of which would be laying idle due to no patients.

The country's active cases have been plummeting for the last couple of days from over 1600 on October 6 to 169 on October 17.

As of October 17, active cases were 169, according to Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC). The figure is the lowest in more than four months.

And now, a source in the Covid-19 task force has told this newspaper that a number of treatment facilities in the country have been closed "because it would be a waste to keep them open with staff stationed there if there are no patients."

This newspaper was not able to get the numbers of all the closed facilities by press time, but we understand that all treatment centres in Rusizi District are closed. The district has not had any new case since September 14.

In addition to this, in the Western Province, there remains only one open treatment located in Rubavu. It is called Rugerero Covid-19 Treatment Centre.

For the case of Rusizi, even many medical experts that had been deployed to the district for Covid-19 response recently handed over the duties to well-trained local teams and returned to Kigali, according to Dr Sabin Nsanzimana the Director-General of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre.

According to information from RBC, at the beginning of the outbreak, there were two treatment centres in Kigali for management of confirmed cases.

As the confirmed Covid-19 cases increased, the existing isolation facilities were overwhelmed, and this led to repurposing of some health centres and schools into Covid-19 treatment centres to meet the high demand. By July 21, there were 18 treatment centres: nine health centres and seven schools with a total capacity of 1986 beds.

Besides, the Ministry of Health also introduced home-based care for Covid-19 patients, and this means that not every patient has to be in institutional treatment and isolation. So, this also contributes to the reduction of patients in facilities.

Earlier this month, about 1,000 Covid-19 patients had been admitted for home-based care, according to Dr. Daniel Ngamije the Minister of Health.

Selecting a Covid-19 patient for home-based care is informed by an assessment of the suitability of the patient's home environment.

Among other things, such homes should have enough space; and should not have people that are at high risk of complications from the pandemic for example people above 65 years of age; those who have chronic heart, lung, or kidney conditions.

Meanwhile, Rwanda is continuing to ease Covid-19 restrictions. For instance, a Cabinet meeting held on Monday, October 12 lifted restrictions on public transportation, effectively allowing buses to fill all their seats and at least 50 per cent of the standing passengers.

Although the government resolved that participants in meetings and conferences will no longer be required to show proof of Covid-19 tests two weeks ago, the meeting on Monday raised venue capacity from the previous 30 per cent to 50 per cent.

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