Health experts sound alarm over Covid-19 damage to vital body organs

Monday September 21 2020

Health experts warn that coronavirus survivors could suffer health effects for years hence required to take regular checkups. Picture | Cyril Ndegeya


Health experts have urged Covid- 19 survivors to regularly take medical check up to deal with possible complications.

According to the recent report by the UK National Health Service (NHS), full recovery for some Covid-19 patients could still be years off. For others, there could be no returning to normal as some organs may be seriously damaged.

Data that informed these conclusions came from hospitals in Italy, the United States and China but local infectious diseases experts say Rwanda is unexceptional hence no reason to believe it will be different.

Health researchers in the country, however, say there is no clear evidence on how severe late complications will be to survivors.

According to the experts, the complications could be damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain. Other problems are fatigue, a racing heartbeat, la-boured breathing, difficulty in concentrating, aching joints and the inability to smell.

Dr Evariste Ntaganda, an officer in charge of cardiovascular diseases at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), said health officials have realised that once patients in critical condition are healed,many complain of low exercise tolerance due to the damage on the lungs by the virus.


“People who have viral infections particularly HIV and Covid-19 tend to develop late complications of inflammation of heart muscles that lead to heart problems in the future, “said Dr Ntaganda.

He said since there are challenges of inflammations patients surviving coronavirus regardless of feeling well and normal they should do regular checkups.

“Patients who will stay longer in the hospital before the oxygen levels in the bodies rise to a tolerable level will take long for their lungs to get back to normal which might also spark other complications in the future once not early catered,” said Dr Ntaganda.

Dr Ntaganda said any respiratory infection including pneumonia and tuberculosis wound the lungs and mostly the parts that are damaged die and never function again. But because Coronavirus is also in the same category of infection there is a high expectation that survivors will suffer the same damages.