Rwanda has reduced by half the cost of a Covid-19 rapid test, with clients paying Rwf5,000 (around $5) down from Rwf10,000 ($9.9) effective August 9.
The move comes after the public complained that the cost was prohibitive.
Cutting down the cost is expected to encourage more people to get coronavirus tests done early.
Currently, the rapid antigen test is charged when done voluntarily but done for free for symptomatic patients and those who have been in contact with Covid-19 patients.
PCR tests that give results in 48 hours cost $50 in Rwanda, a relatively lower cost in the East African region compared to $60-$80 in Kenya and about $65 in Uganda. The prices, however, vary in these countries depending on which testing centre one goes to.
According to a statement issued by the Rwanda Biomedical Center, a list of private clinics and hospitals accredited to run the tests will be announced. As of August 1, the country had conducted a total of 2,083,439 Covid-19 tests.
According to the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Center, Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the country is assessing a one-minute self-testing device that will make Covid-19 testing easily accessible and convenient.
Rwanda experienced a dramatic rise in Covid-19 infections from June this year that resulted in a 15-day lockdown from July 17-31. The rise is attributed to the new deadly and more contagious Delta variant.
The country has fully vaccinated 455,673, while 3,238 have received their first dose. Rwanda currently has 200,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines and is expecting 3.5 million more doses soon.
As of August 1, the country had recorded 821 Covid-related deaths, and 56 patients were in critical condition. The positivity rate stands at 8.5 percent.