ONE OF the key challenges being faced by public health authorities in countries all over the world in the face of COVID-19 is the infection of health professionals while treating patients.
According to figures released earlier this year by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) that at least 90,000 health-care workers worldwide are believed to have been infected with COVID-19, and possibly twice that, amid reports of continuing shortages of protective equipment.
As coronavirus continues to spread across Africa Rwanda has deployed five state-of-the-art humanoid robots to aid its efforts against the virus.
The robots, which were unveiled at a public ceremony earlier this year are designed to limit the exposure of healthcare professionals to the virus.
Robots in Kanyinya COVID 19 Treatment Center
According to Rwanda’s minister of health, Dr Daniel Ngamije, robots could deliver food and medication and screen the temperatures of 50 to 150 people per minute.
The robots can also deliver food and other supplies to patients, minimizing contact between patients and medical staff, according to the director general of the Rwanda Biomedical Center, Sabin Nsanzimana.
Speaking about their capabilities he said: “These robots will perform temperature screening in our treatment centers. The robots will detect people walking in not wearing masks so that with the voice, the command post can quickly be informed and respond.”
They have been deployed at Gatenga and Kanyinya treatment centres in Kigali City.
The 5 human-size robots 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.
They were acquired through ZoraBots Africa Ltd from their parent company ZoraBots in Brussels, Belgium, and given contextualized Rwandan names that represent the spirit of the nation that emerged from the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
With names such as Urumuri (light), Ingabo (shield), and Ikizere (hope), health officials said the robots represent hope and the promise of a better future ahead.
As Rwanda reopened Kigali International Airport for commercial international flights on August 1 health officials said the robots will also help to speed up mass screenings of fever for passengers.
Rwanda has 308 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with no deaths recorded so far.