Daniel Ngamije, Rwandan health minister, during the launch at Kanyinya COVID-19 treatment centre in Kigali stated that;
The use of robots in fighting against COVID-19 will help doctors and nurses in reducing their contact with COVID-19 patients and minimizing their risk of infection with the deadly virus.
The robots were donated to the health ministry by the United Nations Development Program and Rwandan Ministry of ICT and Innovation.
According to the Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, the robots have capacity to screen between 50 to 150 people per minute, capture both video and audio data, and notify officers on duty about detected abnormalities for timely response and case management.
Further stating its benefits, Ngamije added that;
The smart mobile robots also have functions like facial recognition, temperature screening, monitoring patient’s status and keep medical records of the patients. Because of these capabilities, they will enhance health workers’ efficiency and effectiveness in fighting COVID-19 in our country.
The minister noted that the machines would also facilitate the transformation from paper-based to digital patients’ files.
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.
Made by Zora Bots, a Belgian company specialised in robotics solutions, the robots which cost $3,300 each (N1,359,600) are designed with various advanced features to support doctors and nurses at designated treatment centres, and can also be leveraged into screening sites in the country.
The robots have been given Rwandan names: Akazuba (meaning sun in English), Ikizere (hope), Mwiza (beautiful), Ngabo (shield) and Urumuri (light).
Concerning their use, Dr Ngamije said that robotics engineers will be training the Ministry of Health staff on the use of the robots for about one month, after which it is expected that the ministry’s officials will be able to operate them.
The minister assured that more robots are expected to be brought in the country to assist in the COVID-19 fight.
As at Wednesday, Rwanda has registered 308 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 209 recoveries.
See photos of the launch below;