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BREAKING: Rwanda, robots to win the COVID-19 battle

The Government has now deployed robots in the fight against coronavirus, a move aimed at reducing contact between medics and patients.

Robots and this new technology are expected to limit the risk of healthcare workers from contracting the virus.

Rwanda is set to fight COVID-19 with humanoid robots that will help minimise risks of infections among health care workers, authorities declared

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 several tasks related to the virus management, including mass temperature screening, delivering food and medication to patients, capturing data, detecting people who are not wearing masks, among others.

Imagined and created by Zora Bots, a Belgian company specialised in robotics solutions, the robots are designed with various advanced features to support doctors and nurses at designated treatment centres and can also be leveraged into screening sites within the country.

Image credit File photo

According to the information from the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, the robots can screen between 50 to 150 people per minute, capturing both video and audio data, and notifying officers on duty about detected abnormalities for timely response and case management.

While announcing the employment of the new technology to the media, 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’ rooms many times to deliver medication, meals, carry out tests, among other things – and this may pose a risk of contracting the virus,” he declared.

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

Each robot has been given Rwandan name – Akazuba, Ikizere, Mwiza, Ngabo and Urumuri. Image credit BBC

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

Each robot costs about $3,300:

Concerning their usage, 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 use them.

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

“Various innovative solutions are being applied to combat COVID-19, and the robots delivered today in these treatment centres 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 within the COVID-19 battle.

A robot carring out routine tasks for Covid-19. Image credit UNIDO


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