The Rwanda government has deployed the use of robots in the fight against COVID-19, in a move aimed at reducing contact between medics and patients.
According to The New Times, the move is expected to limit the risk of healthcare workers from contracting the virus.
Launched on Tuesday, May 19 at the Kanyinya COVID-19 Treatment Centre by the Ministry of Health with support from the 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 specialised in robotics solutions, they are designed with various advanced features to support doctors and nurses at designated treatment centres, and can also be leveraged into screening sites in the country.
According to information from the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, the robots have the capacity to screen between 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.
Rwandan Minister of Health, Dr Daniel Ngamije, explained that the idea of using the robots is aimed at reducing exposure of health workers to possible Covid-19 infection,
According to him, “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.”
Each robot costs about $3,300.
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.