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On 31st December 2019, the National Health Commission of China declared a new outbreak of Corona virus disease-19 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China with a possible link to a large wholesale fish and live animal market. On 30th January 2020, the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) based on the advice of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005), making it the 6th event for which WHO has declared a PHEIC since the IHR came into force in 2005.
Rwanda has been able to control the spread of COVID19 among the people and limit the number of deaths. However a pandemic such as COVID19 that spreads quickly among people especially in crowded places is not so easy to control in a hospital setting which is known to be usually crowded.
Ever since the beginning of the pandemic Rwanda Military Hospital has set up a number of measures to slow the spread of COVID19 infection among its health workers, patients and between doctors and patients.
Some of the measures put in place are the hand washing stations at the hospital entrances and sanitizers in different corners of hospital premises. The use of face masks became immediately mandatory for all health workers and later on for all patients coming to seek services at RMH and everyone coming to the hospital gets screened of fever.
The physical distancing which is a big issue in a hospital setting since patients are always queuing inside the hospital is being observed using military tents installed inside the hospital since the beginning of the pandemic to facilitate the one meter distance in patients waiting area
RMH has also set up a testing system where all patients with COVID19 symptoms are always tested for COVID19 whether they come as emergency cases or outpatient cases. The contact tracing system has also been initiated in case any patient tests positive to trace his/her contacts to prevent more spread of the virus.
RMH has also set up a dedicated COVID19 center operating inside the hospital premises; the center has rapid response teams composed of different health care experts ready to intervene whenever necessary. The center is in charge of testing, contact tracing and treatment with over 15 beds capacity.
Awareness and education has also been increased with COVID19 prevention messages spread across the hospital, cashless payment has been strenghtened and with the lab capacity having increased by the provision of PCR testing machine RMH has been able to control the spread of COVID19.