Rwanda Slashes COVID-19 Rapid Test Cost by Half

A health worker tests a person in the recent mass testing exercise in the City of Kigali.

Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) on Sunday announced that the cost of taking a rapid COVID-19 test will be reduced by half effective August 9.

Currently, an Antigen COVID-19 rapid test costs Rwf10, 000 while the PCR test goes for Rwf50, 000 at any of the designated COVID-19 testing sites including public and private hospitals.

“The Rwanda Biomedical Centre informs all the public that effective 9 August 2021, the cost of the rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19 in private clinics shall not exceed 5,000 Frw,”

“The list of accredited private clinics that can conduct Covid-19 tests will be communicated soon,” RBC said in a statement. The cost of the cost of the PCR test however remains the same.

The decision follows previous feedback that the cost of testing was high, particularly for people who have to do many tests depending on what they do or meetings they have to attend, since testing is compulsory.

Last month RBC announced plans to authorize Covid-19 self-test detection methodology that will enable citizens to test themselves without necessarily having to go to clinics or testing centres.

The one minute-scale detection of SARS-CoV-2 will be using a low-cost biosensor composed of pencil graphite electrodes and expected to come cheap following government plans to subsidize current costs of COVID-19 tests.

RBC Director General, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana said that RBC laboratories are validating self-tests to make them available as “soon” as possible.

Dr. Nsanzimana said SARS COV-2 diagnosis is changing rapidly from long hours per day of Q-RT PCR (Real-Time Quantitative Reverse Transcription) to turn around time to Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) which takes minutes.

With, the numbers still high, the Ministry of Health said beginning this week there will be immunizing more people particularly in the City of Kigali, with inoculation centres in Gikondo and Camp Kigali reopening as part of efforts to tame the spread of the virus.

According to Dr. Tharcisse Mpunga, the Minister of State for Health in charge of Primary Health Care, the immunization exercise will target Kigali because that is why the highest number of infections are at the moment.

 




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