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Robots In Rwanda Are Being Deployed In The Fight Against COVID-19

These “epidemic robots” will help decrease the workload of frontline workers.

Susie Steck

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  • Five robots have been deployed in Rwanda to fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus, by screening 50 to 150 patients per minute.
  • Aside from its screening abilities, the robots can help administer temperature checks, monitor patient status, keep medical records, deliver food and medication to patient rooms, and even notify officers on duty about detected abnormalities.

The Ministry of Health in Rwanda has announced that they will use five robots as frontline workers to fight against the novel coronavirus. In its official Twitter account, the department introduced the “epidemic robots” namely Akazuba, Ikirezi, Mwiza, Ngabo, and Urumuri which will be utilized in hospitals to minimize risk of infections among health care professionals.

These Belgium-manufactured robots have the capabilities to help medical nurses administer temperature checks, monitor patient’s status or condition, keep medical records, deliver food and medication to patient rooms, capture data, and even notify officers on duty about detected abnormalities.

“The infectious nature of COVID-19 calls for technological innovations to tackle the pandemic. This is why Rwanda has introduced robots and drones among other high-tech initiatives to enhance efficiency in the fight,” said Information and Communication Technology and Innovation minister Paula Ingabire.

Meanwhile, health minister Daniel Ngamije said that the high-tech robots have the capacity to screen or detect 50 to 150 people per minute. He said that the robots special abilities will help reduce the workload of frontline workers.

“Medics and other frontline workers visit patients’ room many times to deliver medication, meals, carry out tests, among other things — and this may increase their risk of contracting the virus,” Ngamije told local newspaper The New Times.

Aside from that, these smart robots can also warn people who are not wearing masks, or are wearing the masks incorrectly.

Daniel added that the robots are made through the joint efforts of Rwanda Ministry of ICT and Innovation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Ngamije likewise remarked that Rwanda is also looking into possibilities to deploy more robots that can perform other tasks, including disinfecting public places.

Rwanda continues to be among the countries that have low number of coronavirus cases. As of May 22, the country has recorded only 320 confirmed COVID-19 infections, with 217 recoveries, and zero deaths.

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