- Name: Nideria Ingabire
- Disease: Cardiovascular Diseases
- Contact: 0784603853
I am Nideria Ingabire, a 28-year-old woman who lives in the Bugesera-Eastern Province of Rwanda, and I have been living with Cardiovascular disease for 5 years.
From where I live to reach the hospital, it took me 2 hours during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was a 30 minutes journey before the pandemic. It was a struggle to get to the hospital during the pandemic because I couldn’t wear a facemask for more than 50 minutes. It caused me breathing complications. Therefore, when I put off the mask, the traffic police stopped me and asked me the reasons for violating the COVID-19 preventive measures.
It was a big challenge to reach the hospital because I live with heart disease, so walking faster was difficult. I was supposed to wake up as early as possible in the morning to walk slowly to the hospital. When I walked faster it caused me complications that I needed to take a break to keep walking.
Most of the time, I missed some medical appointments, and I went to Nyamata Hospital for treatment and medicine during the pandemic. I used to stay in the hospital because of the heart surgery I had in 2018.
Concerning the accessibility to medicine, my medicines are so expensive including Warfarin 5. When it is not in the Hospital stock, I go to buy it at Kipharma. There is another medicine called Lasix, and it is not easy to buy it from a private pharmacy. I am not even satisfied with my Ubudehe Category which is beyond my financial ability. Therefore, it is affordable at the hospital but very expensive in private pharmacies.
There is a change in the amount of medicine that I took, for they increased the dosage. For instance, I took Warfarin 3.5, but it is 5 dosages now. I am supposed to take a diet based meal, and there is food that I have not to eat for health reasons. Also, it is like I live alone with no expectations from a child of 5 years old. Therefore, renting a house and affording food was complicated, and it was possible to spend a day without eating because of unemployment. I wouldn’t eat any type of food because of the regime, and I am still experiencing that difficult life until now. I was required to sell any possession to afford medicine and transport costs. For instance, I sold my phone which was working properly to afford the transport cost.
I am worried about contracting COVID-19, and I would be at high risk after being infected due to my normal breathing complications. I have heard that it affects mostly someone like me with respiratory issues, so I can’t survive even 2 days if I am infected. However, I try my best to prevent myself from COVID-19.
There is no vaccine, so I try my best to prevent myself and my family from the COVID-19 infection so that we can’t die because of the infection. That is what I do for my well-being.
My complication was inflammation. It wouldn't have happened without the COVID-19. If I get access to treatment as quickly as possible, it would not happen. There is no big change in my lifestyle, but the change was not travelling to visiting friends and families. I live alone and have that freedom of travelling, but COVID-19 changed it all.
As people living with non-communicable diseases, we should get special attention at the hospital and be served first without being on queues like others. For instance, I might go with serious complications where even speaking is impossible, so when I go to the waiting line that brings my health into trouble. There would be our specific doctors to take care of us only to prevent further complications.
As people living with non-communicable diseases, we should get a specific Ubudehe category to get special support. For instance, for people who are in Ubudehe Category 3, we have no support to get medicine at affordable prices. Medicine is very expensive, we spend a lot of money, that is why there should be advocacy for us.
What I can say to people living with cardiovascular diseases or others is that getting early treatment is the key. You can sleep and die before waking up when you don’t have access to medicine and treatment as early as possible and follow the doctor’s instructions. Therefore, all people who are not sick yet, should follow the doctor’s instructions and do a medical check to know their health status.