Kissing death: Recovered Covid-19 patients narrate harrowing experience

On 21 January 2021 at 03:50

It is a popular tradition that Rwandans sympathize with bereaved families and join them for mourning and bidding last farewell to a deceased relative. The global Coronavirus pandemic has however narrowed the social cohesion that only a selected number of health workers accompanied by few relatives or friends attend burial ceremonies.

For those that have survived the cruel jaws of the virus, to see another day and tell how they have have had a terrorizing blush with death, relate horrendous experiences.

At the beginning of this week, the Governor of Northern Province, Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi told IGIHE that he is among people who recently recovered from COVID-19.

“I was tested positive and got shaken. I now know well its devastating effects. People should understand that Coronavirus is a severe disease that kills. Avoid complacency and speculations that it is for Kigali residents,” he says.

Jean Léonard Dukuzumuremyi, 31, of from Cyuve sector of Musanze district in Northern Province has also recovered from Coronavirus. Featuring in a talk show dubbed ‘Amahumbezi’ on Radio Rwanda, he has narrated endured ordeal.

He started developing fever and suffering from flu but didn’t give much attention.

Dukuzumuremyi sought treatment from a private clinic from where he was diagnosed with blood infection. After taking prescribed drugs for three days, his health continued to deteriorate that he decided to go for COVID-19 testing in December 2020.

Dukuzumuremyi tested positive and felt uncomfortable whenever he could remember that he respected health guidelines.

“Sometimes, the youth think doing physical exercises or building six-pack muscles develops strong immune systems. It is wrong. I would like to remind them that that I was hit hard and felt much pain. I felt distressed when I received COVID-19 positive results. I was among patients in critical conditions using ventilators to breathe,” he said.

Dukuzumuremyi had lost hope for recovery but he is thankful to God that he recovered.

“When I was on ventilator, I felt closer to the doors of the Heaven. I was very weak and suffering, feeling that death was knocking. I was in distress,” narrates Dukuzumuremyi.

He advises the youth to take advantage of his and other testimonies to strengthen preventive measures.

“Covid-19 is a dangerous killer disease that firstly affects you psychologically. Relatives can pay visits to patients suffering from other diseases but Coronavirus leaves a patient into depression. A patient lives out of family contact knowing that she/he might succumb to the virus anytime,” reveals Dukuzumuremyi.

Sandrine Tukayisabe has also recovered from Covid-19. As the pandemic emerged, she couldn’t believe that everyone can catch it until she tested positive.

“You might not succumb to the virus but can transmit it to relatives and other members of the community. I have not yet fully regained strength but my health conditions are improving,” notes Tukayisabe.

She advises the public to respect instituted health guidelines because Coronavirus sometimes leaves side effects after recovery.

“A patient can recover from Coronavirus but sometimes with health complications. For instance, my body is still weak after recovery,” says Tukayisabe.

Coronavirus symptoms include coughing, flu, and difficulty in breathing. The virus is said to be transmitted through the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract.

Rwandans are urged to adhere to COVID-19 health guidelines, washing hands frequently using soaps and safe water, wearing face masks and respecting social distancing.

Far reaching

The pandemic’s unprecedented effects have not only affected cultural bonds but also had a huge devastating impact on the global, business and individual economies due to measures implemented to contain the spread of the virus.

Since the first COVID-19 patient was confirmed in Rwanda on 14th March 2020, new infections have been on rise; 11,860 people tested positive out of 808,584 sample tests. Of them, 7812 patients have recovered, 3895 are still getting medical attention while 153 have succumbed to the virus.

As Coronavirus emerged in Rwanda, all schools halted activities; students were facilitated to return home. A lockdown that lasted for 40 days was also imposed allowing only essential services to continue operating while adhering to heath guidelines. These include food markets, pharmacies and health facilities among other essential services.

The lockdown was eventually discontinued that travel services, hotels and restaurants, wedding ceremonies, tourism activities, businesses, sports, gaming activities among others were gradually allowed to reopen adhering to Coronavirus preventive measures.

Schools were among other latest activities allowed to reopen. After universities reopened in September 2020, secondary and primary schools subsequently resumed activities in November and December 2020.

The reopening schedule for the remaining nursery and primary school learners in P1 to P3 was set for Monday 18th January 2021.

However, the reopening didn’t go into effect in all parts of the country as planned.

The upsurge in Coronavirus cases in December 2020 had triggered stringent measures that saw the Government extending curfew hours from 10pm to 8pm and prohibited all forms of social gatherings (in public or private settings).

Early January 2021, the Government imposed inter-district lockdown that was later followed by the imposition of lockdown in Kigali as per resolutions of the cabinet meeting held on 18th January 2021. The decision is driven by the fact that Kigali has been a major hotspot for new Coronavirus cases.

For instance, Rwanda registered 1402 new COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths from 11th to 17th January 2021. The majority of new cases were found in Kigali City with highest figures of new infections which started increasing gradually towards the end of last year. The Ministry of Health shows that 862 of these cases and 19 deaths were recorded in Kigali in the same week.

Considering the socio-economic adverse effects brought by the pandemic, everyone should own the fight against Coronavirus as the world strives to distribute recently manufactured vaccines. It has been evident that everyone has risks to catch the virus if preventive measures are not appropriately adhered to. Thus far, stressing the need for consolidated efforts to defeat the pandemic which has affected the world in many aspects of life.

Initially, the public didn’t draw much attention to the virus with some speculations that it is a disease for wealthy people. This might have been among other causes driving complacency and violating instituted health guidelines.

As days go by, it is becoming evident that the pandemic was wrongly perceived considering the steadily rising new Coronavirus cases and deaths registered countrywide.

Sandrine Tukayisabe has recovered from Covid-19.
Jean Léonard Dukuzumuremyi, 31, of from Cyuve sector of Musanze district in Northern Province has also recovered from Coronavirus.