from PHYLLIS BIRORI in Kigali, Rwanda
KIGALI – RWANDA has deployed robots to minimise the rate of infection of health professionals while treating coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.
The Ministry of Health has launched the five human-size robots at the Kanyinya COVID-19 Treatment Centre.
Named Akazuba, Ikirezi, Mwiza, Ngabo and Urumuri in the local Kinyarwanda, the machines are programmed to perform temperature screening, take readings of vitals, deliver video messages and detect people not wearing masks then instruct them to wear masks properly.
Made by Zora Bots, a Belgian company specialising in robotics, the robots were acquired through a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Rwanda) Accelerator Lab (AccLab) and the Ministry of ICT and Innovation.
Each robot costs about $30 000.
At Gatenga and Kanyinya treatment centres in Kigali City, visits by medical staff to patients have gone from a maximum of four days to two since May 2020.
Urumuri is currently deployed at the Kigali International Airport with the capacity to screen 50 to 150 people per minute and report abnormalities to officers on duty.
As Rwanda reopened Kigali International Airport for commercial international flights on August 1, Urumuri will allow speeding up mass screenings of fever for passengers as they land.
Although Rwanda is on track to meeting most of the required quota, the East African country cannot afford the set back that a pandemic like COVID-19 among health professionals would cause.
Smart anti-epidemic robots have been used in Asia to help flatten the COVID-19 curve.
The pandemic has proven to be a crosscutting challenge affecting Rwanda in such sectors as Agriculture, Economy, Education and Health.
– CAJ News