Anti-Covid-19 measures pay off as numbers fall, centres shut

Sunday September 12 2021
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The mass vaccination campaign of 18 year olds and above for the first dose, which kicked off a few weeks ago has now covered around 90 percent of Kigali, and 60 percent for two doses. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA


The anti-Covid-19 measures and mass vaccination drive that Rwanda implemented are beginning to pay off, as more patients admitted in intensive care recover and government close some of the Covid-19 centres in Kigali.

At the Gatenga hospital in Kigali, one of the hospitals that hosted critical coronavirus patients, oxygen tanks are seen lined up outside awaiting storage.

A medical practitioner at the hospital reveals that all the patients have recovered and the centre has been closed.

Dr Tharcisse Mpunga, the Minister of State in charge of Primary Healthcare, said the reduction of critical coronavirus patients and subsequent closure of some centres is attributed to the measures enforced and a successful mass vaccination drive especially in Kigali.

"The measures such as lockdowns and curfews that were followed by mass vaccination have paid off, the transmission rate has been reduced, the mandatory testing of people attending meetings and events has also helped" The mass vaccination campaign of 18 year olds and above for the first dose, which kicked off a few weeks ago, has now covered around 90 percent of Kigali, and 60 percent for two doses.

Mpunga said they have also been giving capacity to district hospitals to handle the remaining coronavirus cases.


Kanyinya and Nyarugenge centres are the only ones with severe coronavirus patients, but their numbers have also significantly reduced. For example, Nyarugenge now only has 38 cases.

Other cases are managed through home care. When Rwanda Today asked the Minister what key lessons they learned as government rolled out the mass vaccination, the minister said "We learned that the demand is very high, the vaccines are still limited."

He said they needed to open more vaccination centres to avoid congestion since the turn up overwhelmed the available capacity. They also encountered cases of vaccine apathy although not widespread, while on the other hand some of the vaccination agents attempted to sneak in their family members and relatives who were not eligible for vaccination.

Many people are reported to have experienced adverse side effects when they took the second jab, an old woman is reported to have died after taking the jab in Nyagatare district.

"Side effects are normal, I also experienced some side effects after taking the jab" said Mpunga.

"Nationally vaccination stands at 20 percent, we believe by end of this year we shall be at 30 percent" He said vaccines are now available and that they even just received another batch that is awaiting deployment.

Rwanda recently eased Covid-19 guidelines allowing traditional weddings, gyms and gaming to resume as the country gradually reopens the economy.

Curfew hours in Kigali were also adjusted to 10pm-4am from the initial 8pm-5am with businesses allowed to remain open until 9pm instead of the initial 7pm.

Religious, legal and traditional marriage ceremonies are now allowed to be attended by 50 people from the initial 20, on condition that attendees taking Covid-19 tests within 72 hours prior to the event.

However, in districts with high rates of infections such as Kirehe, Gicumbi, Burera, Ngoma, Nyagatare, Nyamasheke, Nyaruguru and Rwamagana, movement is still prohibited between 8pm and 4am with businesses closing at 7pm. The rest of the country will adhere to a 9pm-4am curfew.