Rwanda has recently launched its largest COVID-19 treatment centre for patients infected with the coronavirus, which is expected to reduce pressures on overwhelmed hospitals across the country.
The newly launched facility has an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with the capacity to admit 140 patients. It comes at a time when the country is desperately battling a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed 115 lives, with 2,313 active cases as at January 8.
The treatment centre which cost about $10 million to build, is housed within the newly launched Nyarugenge District Hospital in Kigali City.
“The facility is expected to improve Covid-19 case management. It offers the highest standard of oxygen therapy and its ICU capacity allows to admit 136 patients,” Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) said on Twitter.
Before the new center was launched, the country had a total of 114 intensive care unit beds, 90 fixed ventilators and 130 portable ventilators prioritised for Covid-19 patients, according to the Rwanda Biomedical Centre.
Over 50 patients who are in need oxygen and intensive care are now slated for transfer to the largest COVID-19 treatment centre from other treatment centres in the capital, Kigali.
It is anticipated that there may be a third wave of the virus infection before the vaccine is accessible to much of the population.
“Covid-19 has some factors in common with the previous respiratory pandemics such the 1918 Spanish Flu. It takes three waves for us to be able to manage it. Since the vaccine will not take effect immediately everywhere at the same time, we might have another wave of infections this year,” Dr Menelas Nkeshimana told The EastAfrican.
Dr Nkeshimana, a member of Rwanda Joint Task Force for Covid-19, added that Rwanda faces the risk of a surge in infections because of its young and mobile population who are super spreaders as the case is in every other country.
In mid-December, up to 42 private clinics were authorised to begin Covid-19 tests using the rapid antigen tests. This was done to ease access to testing services and reduce the pressure on public testing facilities.
As of Friday, Rwanda had recorded 9,368 total coronavirus infections and 6,940 recoveries, out of 760,897 tests done since the first case of the virus was reported in the country in March last year.
Rwanda expects to have vaccinated 20 per cent of the country’s population by March 2021.
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