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CORONA VIRUS

Rwandan Engineers Complete First Made In Rwanda Ventilator As Response To #COVID-19

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Rwandan biomedical engineers from the Integrated Polytechnic Regional College Kigali (IPRC) have successfully produced the first ventilator as the country mobilizes more resources to battle #COVID-19.

A prototype has been unveiled and sources say the ventilator will be released for use soon.

The team, carefully guided by Dr. Stephen Rulisa, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine and Pharmacy, University of Rwanda, and the Ministry of Health, says the prototype was produced in eight days.

According to Dr. Rulisa, the Engineers have developed a ventilator that works exactly as the ones available on the market.

“The difference is that one in Made in Rwanda, others are imported,” he said. “They have made this one for demonstration in 8 days… when supported; they can do one even in 3 days.”

One of the Engineers, Costica Uwitonze, is optimistic if supported as soon as possible, the team can kick off production of the device to save people’s lives.

Dr. Rulisa is convinced the team has all it takes for the job. “We have the best brains in #Rwanda as anywhere else in the world.. .so let’s go!”

Similar ventilators, according to many suppliers, cost between $25,000 and $50,000. This is such a high cost tool that many poor countries cannot afford for available Intensive Care Units.

This is the same reason why most countries especially in Africa have Hospitals with few ICU beds.

For an ICU bed to be considered complete, it must have a ventilator too. Clinically, a ventilator is the patient’s last resort before God. Those who can’t breath and need facilitated breathing cannot survive without a ventilator.

Rwanda, like many other poor countries, has a few dozens of ICU beds and ventilators and the exact number has not yet been made public, but a source told Taarifa that the country has ordered for more pieces in response to #COVID-19.

The development of ventilators by local engineers could potentially change the face of Rwanda’s medical infrastructure across the country.

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CORONA VIRUS

Health Workers To Be First To Get Vaccinated As Omicron Spreads

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As the Omicron wave of COVID-19 hit the world, health medical staff and frontline workers will be the first to get vaccinated before other target groups in the phase.

According to the Ministry of Health announcement, COVID-19 vaccine boosters will begin with the front line workers and those in elderly ages non-communicable diseases and health conditions.

Regardless of frontline workers and health staffs, other main target groups are the elderly people in the 50’s and above as well as those in the 39-40 but with non-communicable diseases or other health conditions as the guideline mentions.

Health practitioners have welcomed the third vaccination jab saying the move is timely because they know well they are risk factors to transmit the pandemic.

“We are the first risk factors who can spread COVID-19 easily therefore, we have to vaccinate before others due to contacts we make with patients,” said Vicent Mugambira, a health practitioner.

According to the Ministry of Health, the third dose will focus on those who received the first and second phases of the vaccine.

“COVID-19 vaccine booster dose is an additional dose that is given to eligible groups at least 6 months (180) days after being fully vaccinated. It can be considered as the third dose for those who received a single dose type of vaccine,” the Ministry’s announcement reads.

Despite the third wave of COVID-19, there are concerns and uncertainty on the times a person should vaccinate.

“I would like to know how comes for the person to be considered as fully vaccinated while there is a remaining dose,” a tweep responded to the Ministry’s announcement.

Since last week, the vaccination program of students in the range age of 12-17 is going on countrywide but parents have to first sign consent forms on their behalf.

Rwanda target to vaccinate 30 percent of its population by the end of December.

 

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CORONA VIRUS

UN Agency Says Travel Bans over Omicron a ‘Mistake

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Many countries across the globe have rushed to impose travel ban on arrivals to countries in the southern africa region following the emergence of a more deadly covid-19 strain known as omnicron in South Africa.

 

Passengers from most countries in South African Development Community bloc are banned from entering various countries across the globe.

 

Like many other countries responding to the quick spread of Omnicron, Rwanda has banned passengers arriving from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Malawi.

 

The government of Rwanda said on Monday any passengers from the countries listed shall have to be quarantined for 7 days at their own cost.

 

Meanwhile, the head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa said that travel bans to try and stop the omicron strain from spreading are a “mistake” and pose a greater risk to African economies than the threat of the virus itself.

The restrictions could push more people in the continent into poverty, said Vera Songwe, Uneca’s executive director. The agency was already estimating that 70 million jobs would be lost because of the pandemic, she said. 

Rwanda Issues New Conditions For Travelers From Southern Africa

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CORONA VIRUS

Rwanda Issues New Conditions For Travelers From Southern Africa

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Passengers arriving in Rwanda from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Malawi shall have to be quarantined for 7 days at their own cost, the government of Rwanda said on Monday.

A new coronavirus strain named Omicron potentially more contagious than previous variants and is fast spreading across the world and has forced governments to institute enhanced guidelines to quickly prevent the variants further spread.

Passengers arriving in Rwanda shall have to respect the new measures announced by the government on Sunday. It said that passengers arriving from the countries mentioned above are required to quarantine for seven days at their own cost at designated hotels upon arrival in Rwanda.

“The measure also applies to passengers who have visited any of these countries within seven days of arrival in Rwanda.”

Meanwhile, all other arriving passengers are required to quarantine for one day at their own cost in designated hotels. a covid-19 PCR test will be conducted on arrival also paid for by the passenger and an additional PCR test covered by the government of Rwanda will be administered at a designated testing site on day 7 after arrival in Rwanda.

RwandaAir flight to the South African countries are also suspended until further notice.

An extra-ordinary cabinet meeting held yesterday learned that despite the fact that Omicron variant is not yet detected in Rwanda, residents are required to be vigilant by enforcing preventive measures.  

Prior the announcement, Botswana’s Presidential COVID-19 Task Force also forewarned the public about the new variant cases in the country.

“The four cases were detected among travelers who tested SARS-COV-2 positive on routine pre-travel testing. The variant tests were carried out as part of the routine genomic surveillance of SARS-COV-2 as prescribed in our COVID-19 response plan.” the statement signed by Dr. K Masupu, Coordinator, Presidential COVID-19 Task Force reads.

UK has also imposed a travel ban on South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini.

Researchers around the world are still conducting multiple studies to better understand many aspects about Omicron.

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