The beginning of 2021 has been a making an attempt time for Rwanda’s battle towards COVID-19, with almost 7,000 new infections and 104 deaths confirmed in only one month. For the primary time because the outbreak of the pandemic, Rwanda was reporting 270 new infections and 4 deaths day by day, on common.
The Authorities of Rwanda responded instantly by setting up preventive measures which have decreased the variety of new instances and deaths, from February.
Since March 2020, UNFPA by One UN in Rwanda is supporting the Nationwide COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, with a deal with continuity of sexual and reproductive well being companies, together with the safety of the well being workforce, addressing gender-based violence (GBV), and making certain the provision of contemporary contraceptives and different reproductive well being commodities. A few of the UN workers members had been deployed to Rwanda’s Nationwide Command Put up Centre to help the COVID-19 response of their respective fields of experience.
Frida Temple, a midwife and Worldwide UN Volunteer, joined UNFPA Rwanda in January 2021. Via UNFPA’s help, she has been deployed to Rwanda’s Nationwide COVID-19 Command Put up Centre to help case administration, notably for pregnant ladies.
“We deeply respect the help of the Authorities of Sweden to UNFPA to reinforce the standard of the midwifery career in Rwanda,” stated Mark Bryan Schreiner, UNFPA Consultant to Rwanda. “With this deployment of a practitioning midwife, UNFPA contributes to authorities efforts to make sure each being pregnant and childbirth is protected in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Q: What was it like to hitch UNFPA and be deployed to the COVID-19 Command Put up?
Once I arrived in Kigali with my household I used to be very desperate to see and serve the nation of Rwanda. Sadly, the nation entered a strict curfew the day we arrived and an entire lockdown a few week after our arrival.
I met my new colleagues at UNFPA by digital conferences and my authentic assignments had been a delayed as a result of lockdown and lack of ability to maneuver round. So when the chance to be deployed to the Command Put up got here, I used to be very excited. I had simply come from a rustic that was very badly affected by COVID-19 and I had labored with the COVID-19 response there, so I now have the chance to make use of my expertise and help the response right here in Rwanda.
Q: Describe what your day seems to be like on the command publish.
A traditional day begins with discovering out concerning the variety of new sufferers in every district, and particularly the instances enrolled in home-based care. We examine if any of them are in want of a house go to.
Some days of the week, I’ve conferences with the Technical Advisory Group, the place representatives from the accomplice organizations, Rwanda Biomedical Centre and the Ministry of Well being, meet to debate essential points associated to COVID-19.
After the assembly, I normally exit for fieldwork. If any pregnant lady wants an evaluation, I am going there along with a colleague. We additionally do house visits to different sufferers that want an evaluation. Our drivers take us so far as they’ll and typically we have to stroll the final bit up or down steep hills to achieve the houses of the sufferers.
I additionally go to well being centres to make sure that the testing and evaluation of suspected COVID-19 instances is finished safely and that the well being centres have the important gear that’s wanted. I’ve been in a position to mentor a number of the new health-care staff in the course of the house visits. Any time I’ve left is used for studying and revising tips and therapy plans, in addition to supporting in different areas.
Because the pandemic rages, ladies and women face intensified dangers. What’s your contribution on the Command Put up to make sure the protection of pregnant ladies?
The dangers that ladies and women face throughout a pandemic are many. Firstly, pregnant ladies are at larger threat of turning into critically unwell throughout COVID-19. Additionally, as a result of the truth that solely 40 per cent of pregnant ladies go for all 4 antenatal care visits in Rwanda, many pregnant ladies are unaware of potential comorbidities they’ve which can be attributable to the being pregnant, corresponding to hypertension, gestational diabetes and elevated physique mass index. That is one thing that pregnant ladies must be made conscious of. Throughout my time on the Command Put up, I’ve been making certain that pregnant ladies are perceived as excessive threat and in addition that they’re being knowledgeable that they’re excessive threat.
Whereas visiting well being centres, I’ve knowledgeable the group well being staff concerning the elevated dangers of being pregnant and the measures to take. I’ve additionally taken half within the revision of the WHO tips and different scientific tips when it comes to being pregnant and COVID-19 particular for Rwanda. We’ve mentioned important care, for instance household planning, and the significance of continuous to offer it. We’ve additionally mentioned the chance of a rise in GBV, particularly throughout lockdown.
I’m keen about informing the frontline well being staff of the high-risk teams and co-morbidities. A lot of the frontline well being staff are ladies and of reproductive age, so it can be crucial that they’ve the suitable data about COVID-19 in addition to the correct gear whereas caring for sufferers contaminated with COVID-19.
Pregnant ladies with COVID-19 are at elevated threat of creating extreme sickness, together with a heightened threat of loss of life. How do you retain monitor of pregnant ladies who’ve examined optimistic? How are they helped?
Pregnant ladies with COVID-19 are known as day by day to have their state assessed. If their situation worsens or in the event that they want a bodily evaluation, I am going with one other individual for evaluation. If the lady wants evacuation to a hospital, we be certain she is picked up by an ambulance and brought to the suitable facility. If there’s a want for an obstetric session in the course of the quarantine interval, we offer the suitable hospital for her to go to.
I’ve been to a couple district hospitals to debate the totally different instances and the way they had been managed. Once I first began on the COVID-19 Command Put up, there have been round 10 to twenty instances of pregnant ladies to investigate cross-check day by day; nonetheless, because the instances in Rwanda have decreased throughout the previous couple of weeks, so have the pregnant instances. We at the moment are in a position to observe the pregnant instances carefully in addition to deal with visiting well being centres to teach folks, and in addition do house visits to different optimistic instances.
One lady I visited was COVID-19 optimistic and he or she was feeling weak however all proper, nonetheless, she did not really feel foetal motion as persistently as ordinary. Once we went to her home, the lady’s vitals had been good and I used to be in a position to assess the child. The center price was good and the child was responsive. The lady was very relieved that the child was nice, and after just a few days the mom was additionally feeling higher.
What does UNFPA’s help to the Nationwide COVID-19 Response deal with?
Typically, UNFPA’s help focuses on continuity of sexual and reproductive well being companies and safety of frontline well being workforce; gender-based violence prevention and response; and continued provide of contemporary contraceptives and reproductive well being commodities. Personally, I help case administration, notably for pregnant ladies, making certain protected being pregnant and childbirth in the course of the pandemic.
How has this expertise been when it comes to constructing your abilities and capacities? And the way is it contributing to your volunteer expertise in Rwanda?
This has been a tremendous alternative for me. I’ve realized a lot. I’ve been in a position to characterize UNFPA and current the issues that I’m keen about. I’ve acquired to know lots of people from hospitals, well being centres and the totally different companions and Ministries that I might be partnering with in my coming assignments as properly. I’ve additionally been in a position to see the nation, perceive the challenges in addition to see the strengths and alternatives, and as a bonus I’m additionally studying increasingly Kinyarwanda every day!
I’m very impressed by how the nation and its totally different companions and Ministries have united and labored collectively throughout this pandemic to serve the nation. Rwanda has some wonderful folks! I’m extra excited than ever to tackle my mission as a UN Volunteer to serve this stunning nation. Collectively, we are able to conquer something!
* The id of sufferers with COVID-19 is protected.