HealthEd

How Rwanda is Dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic

Osmosis Team
Published on Apr 18, 2020. Updated on Sep 15, 2020.

In today’s COVID-19 Stories from Around the World, we hear from Osmosis Scriptwriter and Intern Medical Doctor in Rwanda, Dr. Evode Iradufasha, who discusses his experience with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What’s the pandemic situation like in Rwanda?

In Rwanda, the first case of COVID-19 was announced on March 14 2020. From that day, the government reinforced specific measures, many of which people were already following. All public gatherings— schools, university classes, churches, wedding ceremonies, meetings, and entertainment activities—were all suspended until further notice. 

Many offices were closed, and people were encouraged to work from home. Thermal cameras were installed at the airport to help healthcare providers screen every incoming person for fever. 

Hand-washing stations and alcohol scrubs were established in public places like bus stations and markets, with personnel on-hand to make sure everyone is washing their hands properly. 

As of my time writing this (April 17), the number of confirmed cases is 138: 60 people have recovered, and no deaths have been recorded, which is not very bad compared to some heavily affected countries around the world. The issue with COVID-19 is that no one can be sure how many are truly affected, as people can be asymptomatic and yet still infectious. 


Rwanda has had a chance to learn from others

When the world was starting to realize how big of a problem COVID-19 is, Rwanda started screening everyone coming into the country at the airport; based on travel history, some were immediately put in quarantine for observation. Rwanda is a country with a health system lacking in sufficient infrastructure and human resources—we simply cannot afford an outbreak, so focusing on preventive measures is of paramount importance. 

Despite the scarcity of resources, the Rwandan government managed to train the available health care providers. Every hospital in the country was ordered to have at least two well-equipped quarantine rooms to receive any suspected cases as they wait to be transferred to the centers prepared uniquely to treat people with COVID-19.

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The public has also been educated about major symptoms of COVID-19, and people have been asked to not go to the hospital immediately if they develop COVID-19 symptoms. Instead, they should immediately quarantine themselves and call 114, an established toll-free number that sends a health team to your address to test for COVID-19.

People have been advised to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel. All public transport is suspended, travel between districts in Rwanda is banned, and all restaurants are now takeout-only. Cash payments are discouraged in favor of online and mobile payments, which the government has made free of charge. 

The government announced that it will extend tax payment deadlines, but in return asked traders to not raise the prices of basic items. Those who took the occasion of the already-frightened public to raise prices of essential items are now being punished by the government.


We can win this if everyone does their part

In the first days of COVID-19, China was the most affected country. But due to all the efforts that were put in place, the majority of infected people have now recovered and the curve there is flattening. Also, in Rwanda, the number of cases is relatively low. This gives hope that COVID-19 can be fought and be defeated, but every citizen of the world has to contribute their part. So, what can you do?

The first thing to do is making sure that you’re getting reliable information. There are many trustworthy news sources, like the WHO, CDC, and government websites. For matters related to a deeper understanding of COVID-19, visit Osmosis.org’s COVID-19 resources page

The second thing to do is to make sure you apply all preventive measures to protect yourself and the community around you. In case you get symptoms, it’s not the end of the world. Just call emergency numbers provided in your country, and follow instructions given by your country’s health boards. Remember, 91% of confirmed cases recover—so there is a big chance that you will too.

Third, try to keep your regular productivity as high as possible. Don’t let COVID-19 be an excuse for killing all your plans. Make sure you optimize everything that could be done without going to the office. If you can work at home, do so.

Fourth, make sure you take good care of your mental and physical health by spending quality time with your family at home, doing regular exercise at home, eating a healthy diet, and practicing regular meditation. You can find more about meditation and mindfulness here on the Osmosis blog, or on the Events page.

Fifth, spread the message of love and hope, not the disease. We’re in this together, and if we unite, the world will beat COVID-19.

About Dr. Iradufasha

Dr. Evode Iradufasha is a Rwandan intern doctor and a scriptwriter at Osmosis.org. From when he can remember, he is a die-hard fan of everything health. He is deeply passionate about Orthopedics—so much so that his friends call him Dr. Bones! When he is not doing clinics or glued to his computer writing scripts for Osmosis videos, he loves going to the gym, wandering in nature, listening to birds, inspecting plants, insects, and worms, or grabbing a cup of coffee with friends. 



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