The Minister of Health Dr. Ngamije M Daniel recently participated in World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 information session where he shared Rwanda’s experience in containing the pandemic. The session had Rwanda, Kuwait and Jamaica share an update on effective measures to fight COVID-19 and the lessons learnt along the way.
Rwanda’s efficient shared measures against COVID-19 include ; working with partners to improve the capacity of COVID-19 testing at the National Reference Laboratory where samples hiked from 100 to 2500 tests per day with a turnaround time of 24-48 hours ; decentralizing COVID-19 testing to district level where 8 district hospitals were enabled to test with an average of 1000 tests per day ; putting in place a comprehensive surveillance strategy inclusive of the high risk groups and occupations like the markets,shops, hotels, bank, coffee shops ,name it ; doing active surveillance by contact tracing and testing cross-border travelers and traders . Also the recently launched drive through and walk through campaigns where random people are tested for COVID-19 in the community is part of surveillance.
“On this journey we have learnt the importance of good governance and leadership in implementing COVID-19 prevention measures, for example without multisectoral collaboration a lockdown would be impossible,” said the health minister.
The list of Rwanda’s lessons from the COVID-19 experience include ; ensuring access to essential medicine, financing and services where the government committed to giving free COVID-19 services of quarantine , testing and treatment ; Building stronghealth information systemswith effectiveData management tools and innovations during case identification, testing, contact tracing, case management and protecting the health work force through using robots as well as increasing the numbers of Community Health Workers and youth volunteers in contact tracing at the community level.