Rwanda has turned to technology in the fight against COVID-19 as its Health Ministry plans to deploy high tech anti-epidemic humanoid robots to be used in the screening of COVID-19 so as to minimise human interaction with patients in its coronavirus treatment centres.
Rwanda’s Minister for Health, Dr Daniel Ngamije said on Friday that four robots had been tested in the treatment of COVID-19 patients and the doctors had been trained on how to operate the CRUZR robots.
The robots will be able to check patients’ vital signs including temperature, heart rate, blood, and oxygen levels and relay responses to doctors and nurses remotely. Each robot has a video conferencing facility to connect the doctors to the patients in case the doctor wants to talk directly to the patient where the robot is stationed.
Other features include:
- Ability to screen 50 to 150 patients per minute
- They can record and store patients’ data
- They can alert health workers in case of abnormalities
- Facial recognition capabilities
- They can deliver food, water and medicine in and out of hospital wards
- They can warn people to wear masks
Dr Ngamije added that the deployment of the robots will greatly reduce exposure of doctors and health workers to the coronavirus as it removes the need for physical contact with the patient. Currently, a doctor can interact with a patient around four times a day, depending on their condition.
Besides the treatment centers, the robots will also be used to screen temperatures in public places including, at entrances to shopping arcades and bus stops.
The Health Minister also said that they shall also be deploying robots for other duties such as disinfection of public spaces.
The robots are manufactured by ZoraBots, a Belgian robotic technology firm based in Kigali. Each of the robots has a Rwandan name – Akazuba (meaning sun), Ikizere (meaning hope), Mwiza (meaning beautiful), Ngabo (Meaning shield) and Urumuri (Meaning light).
“It is exciting to see different institutions join hands to seek solutions to address COVID-19. It is yet another milestone that technology is used to improve healthcare in Rwanda,”
Rwanda has already deployed drones which are currently being used to raise public awareness about the coronavirus pandemic.
Rwanda has registered 297 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 203 recoveries.s of Monday evening.