Rwanda:Why a hospital recorded more neonatal cases

By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti

Ruhengeri hospital

One of the referral hospitals in Rwanda, Ruhengeri hospital has admitted having recorded more unusual neonatal death cases and undertook laboratory analysis processes to assess the cause of the death.

According to the hospital management 19 people died in March 2021, an unprecedented death toll in the history of hospitals in the country.

 “Suspecting the presence of the multi resistant microbe, processes of laboratory analyses have been undertaken and revealed the two types of microbes both sensitive to only a strong antibiotic called vancomycin,” said the hospital management in the statement released on Tuesday.  

  Vancomycin is an antibiotic medication used to treat a number of bacterial infections. It is recommended intravenously as a treatment for complicated skin infections, bloodstream infections, endocarditis, bone and joint infections, and meningitis caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.  

“A set of actions have been taken to reverse the problem, including treatment with vancomycin to all the babies presenting neonatal infection, relocation of all admitted babies in a separate room and application of rigorous infection prevention and control measures in the neonatal care unit,” it added.

One of the local media, The Source Post broke the news earlier reporting that more neonatal cases at Ruhengeri hospital had increased and parents were scared to give birth from the hospital which is the biggest referral hospital.

The hospital is located in Musanze district, in the Northern Province, and serves thousands of patients who seek services either directly or transferred by areas hospitals.

The hospital said that the main causes of premature infant deaths include congenital malformation such as malformed organs which cannot allow a newborn to survive.

Others are prematurity complications including respiratory problems and neonatal infections.

Specifically for the March infant deaths, three infants died from prematurity complications, two died from congenital malformations, while 14 died from neonatal infections.

However, the hospital management has assured Rwandans that to date, the situation is stabilized and the disinfected room had been put to use again. 

“The Management of Ruhengeri hospital presents its utmost condolences to grieved families and is conducting investigations to establish whether there has been any case of gross negligence and assures that those involved will be held accountable,” reads the statement in part.  

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