Govt. introduces robots in fight against COVID-19

By Nicole Kamanzi M.
On 20 May 2020 at 02:04

In a move that aims at reducing contact between medics and patients, the Government of Rwanda has launched the use of robots in the fight against COVID-19, expected to limit the risk of health workers from contracting the virus.

the Ministry of Health launched the robots, Tuesday, May 19 at the Kanyinya COVID-19 Treatment Centre. They have been acquired with the support of United Nations Development Programme.

The five high-tech robots can perform a number of tasks related to COVID-19 management, including mass temperature screening, delivering food and medication to patients, capturing data, detecting people who are not wearing masks, among others.

Made by Zora Bots, a Belgian company specialized in robotics solutions, they are designed with various advanced features to support doctors and nurses at designated treatment centers, and can also be leveraged into screening sites in the country.

The robots have the capacity to screen from 50 to 150 people per minute, capture both video and audio data, and notify officers on duty about detected abnormalities for timely response and case management.

Dr. Daniel Ngamije, the Minister of Health said that the idea of using the robots is aimed at reducing exposure of health workers to possible Covid-19 infection.
“Medics and other front-liners visit patients’ room many times to deliver medication, meals, carry out tests, among other things – and this may pose a risk of contracting the virus,” he said.

“These robots will fasten service delivery while protecting our valuable health workers against COVID-19 exposure.”

There haven’t been cases of medics that have caught the virus according to Dr Ngamije. However, he said there is a cleaner at a COVID-19 treatment facility in the country that tested positive for the virus.

Dr. Ngamije said that robotics engineers will be training the Ministry of Health staff concerning the use of the robots for about one month, after which it is expected that the ministry’s officials will be able to operate them.

Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT and Innovation said that COVID-19 has accelerated the need for digital solutions across various industries, especially in the health sector.

“There are various innovative solutions being applied to combat COVID-19, and the robots delivered today in these treatment centers, will be deployed to support our frontline health workers in treating and containing the pandemic by taking on routine tasks.”

According to Dr. Ngamije, more robots are expected to be brought in the country to assist in the COVID-19 fight.

The Government of Rwanda has launched the use of robots in the fight against COVID-19
Dr. Ngamije said that robotics engineers will be training the Ministry of Health staff concerning the use of the robots for about one month

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