Rwanda adopts home-based care for COVID-19 patients

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The Rwandan government is expecting to lower costs of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in the country through adoption of home-based care for people diagnosed with the virus, the Minister of Health said Friday.

“So far about 900 COVID-19 patients have been treated through home based care, and 600 have recovered from the virus. The initiative has been effective,” Daniel Ngamije, the Minister of Health told journalists at a press conference in the capital Kigali.

“With home-based care there are expenditures which will be avoided such as cost of accommodation at quarantine sites, and feeding. These costs were spent on average for a period of 21 days per patient,” he said.

He said apart from the capital Kigali; only one coronavirus treatment center will be maintained in each of the four provinces, where patients requiring intensive care will be admitted.

The minister said Rwanda spent 73 million U.S. dollars in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the first six month of the pandemic, and an additional budget of 11 million U.S. dollars has been drawn for a period running up to December 2020.

He said clear guidelines have been laid out to ensure effective home-based care.

The patients eligible for home-based care include those who are asymptomatic, must be below 65 years old–without other long lasting health complications, and must have own bedroom at home, said the minister, adding that there is good progress on decline of confirmed cases since the disease outbreak in March in the country.

The patient must also be able to self-quarantine at home with the health ministry able to track his or her movements to avoid leaving home, according to him.

The guidelines have been given to community health workers and health personnel at different health centers who have been trained to regularly follow up those patients, Ngamije added.

As of Thursday evening Rwanda had recorded 4,843 confirmed coronavirus cases with 29 related deaths, according to health ministry daily updates. 

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