COVID 19Health

New COVID-19 cases drop in Rwanda amid rising vaccination

KIGALI (The Southern African Times) – Solange Uwizeyimana, a domestic worker had wanted to get vaccinated against COVID-19 for months, but when she went to a vaccination center in Rubavu town in western Rwanda, the health staff turned her away because she was not in the eligible age bracket.

When she heard that a vaccination campaign dedicated to adults 18 years and over was taking place in the capital Kigali, she rushed to stand in line at the inoculation site at 7 a.m.

“Even if it meant standing in the line the whole day, I could not leave until I got vaccinated,” the 21-year-old told Xinhua at a vaccination site.

She was one of the hundreds of young Rwandans who had turned up at a school turned into a makeshift vaccination site to get inoculated in Nyarugenge district.

The Rwandan Health Ministry in August organized a two-week vaccination campaign at various sites targeting adults 18 years and over in Kigali.

The idea is to reach young people, many of whom are working in different sectors of the economy, according to health officials.

The government believes vaccination will help the country return to “normal” business.

Last month, for the first time since the outbreak of the virus, vaccinated fans and those with negative tests were allowed back at the pitch to watch the biggest basketball event for national teams on the African continent in Kigali. Proof of vaccination and negative tests are now needed to attend big events in Rwanda.

“Rwanda has recorded a drop in new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks due to vaccination campaign,” Tharcisse Mpunga, Rwandan State Minister in charge of Primary Healthcare told Xinhua in a phone interview.

“Besides vaccination, enforcement of prevention measures especially in cities has been a key factor. Even when it is not 100 percent there is a reasonable level of compliance with health measures,” he said.

As of Wednesday data showed there were 2,818 confirmed cases and 37 fatalities recorded in the past seven days. About 94,055 cases have been registered and 1,184 fatalities since the outbreak of the virus in the country.

The government enforced a third lockdown on Kigali and eight towns from July 17 to July 31, after cases reached their highest that month. Health officials had registered the highest numbers in July, where nearly 2000 new cases were at some point recorded in a single day.

But currently hospital admission of COVID-19 patients has gone down with most patients treated under home based care, and some treatment centers which had been reopened during a surge closed again.

Youth, like Rwandans in other age groups have turned up in big numbers to take COVID vaccine jabs. And government officials say vaccine hesitancy is not a big challenge in Rwanda.

Asked whether it was time to say Rwanda has managed to push back the third wave of the virus which has been sweeping through Africa nations, Mpunga said it was early to say so, noting that more time was still needed to consolidate the relative success since the virus keeps mutilating.

The hot spots currently based on health surveys are rural areas in eastern districts of Rwanda bordering Tanzania and Uganda, according to the minister.

Mpunga underlined that the government has decentralized treatment of COVID in the country, where provinces have capacity to manage cases without needing to treat them in Kigali.

Rwanda launched a nationwide vaccination campaign on March 5, starting with people from risk groups, including health personnel, frontline workers, and those older than 65 years or with underlying health conditions, before later expanding eligibility.

The Central African country targets to vaccinate 30 percent of the population by the end of 2021.

More than 1.8 million people in the country have received one COVID-19 vaccine dose while over 1.1 million are fully vaccinated.

Rwanda’s vaccine portfolio includes China-made Sinopharm, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson& Johnson.

Last week, the Health Ministry distributed about 97,000 doses of Sinopharm, to inoculate residents aged 50 years and above and those with underlying health conditions in districts outside the capital.

“There is good progress in terms of delivery of vaccines,” said Mpunga.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has called on the public to stay vigilant and use all available information “to keep updating ourselves on how to prevent its spread and keep on fighting it.”

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button