Rwanda: Covid-19 - 90% of Victims in Rwanda Had NCDs - Minister

(file photo).
26 October 2020

At least 90 per cent of the 34 deaths registered in Rwanda due to Covid-19 were people with underlying conditions of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the Minister of Health Dr. Daniel Ngamije has said.

Ngamije said this while addressing the World Health Summit on Monday, October 26.

The meeting was held virtually and it brought together a number of health officials from different places of the world.

"Recently we noted that with Covid-19, NCDs are really a big problem by fragilising people who are infected with Covid-19. We noted that 90 percent of the 34 cases of death were with NCDs comorbidities," he said.

Of the total number of deaths, he said "a huge number of death cases with comorbidities of NCDs were those beyond 55 years of age."

With these numbers, he noted that Rwanda has been very successful in containing the virus. Here, he pointed out that out of the 5,066 total confirmed cases (as of October 25), the case fatality is 0.7%.

In his presentation, he said part of this success is attributable to a health system that has greatly improved access to medical services for the majority of Rwandans.

"If we have got 34 cases of death so far, we can say it is because of early access to health facilities by patients; early detection and treatment of people infected with Covid-19. This has kept our case fatality at 0.7 percent," he said.

He also highlighted the age composition of those infected, saying that majority of Rwanda's confirmed positive cases are between 20 to 59 years, and some few were above 65.

According to a statement from the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, people infected with SARS COV-2 are likely to be severely affected or die if they already have an underlying Non-Communicable Disease.

NCDs are a serious issue in causing fatalities due to Covid-19 in the world.

In September, the Africa Office of the World Health Organisation, said there is increasing evidence that Africans living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension and diabetes are more likely to suffer severe cases of Covid-19 and die.

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) preliminary analysis of 14 countries in the African region, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma are the co-morbidities most associated with Covid-19 patients.

These chronic conditions require continuous treatment, but as governments address the ongoing pandemic, health services for NCDs have been severely disrupted.

In a WHO survey of 41 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 22% of countries reported that only emergency inpatient care for chronic conditions is available, while 37% of countries reported that outpatient care is limited.

Hypertension management has been disrupted in 59% of the countries, while diabetic complications management has been disrupted in 56% of the countries.

It should be noted that even prior to the current pandemic, NCDs were a major health challenge. In 2015, NCDs killed 3.1 million people in the African region up from 2.4 million in 2010.

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