Smart Anti-Epidemic Robots to aid Rwanda in fight against COVID-19

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Image source: Pixabay

In the fight against the novel coronavirus, the Government of Rwanda has introduced a group of 5 Smart Anti-Epidemic Robots that were donated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  

The robots, whose names are Akazuba, Ikirezi, Mwiza, Ngabo, and Urumuri, were delivered to the Kanyinya Treatment Center in the country’s capital, Kigali. They were received by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of ICT and Innovation.   

According to a news release published by the Government of Rwanda, the smart robots were made by Zora Bots, a robotics solutions company in Belgium. 

In a video posted on Twitter by the Ministry of ICT and Innovation last week, Dr. Daniel Ngamije, the Minister of Health in Rwanda, speaks about the robots at a press conference. The tweet garnered the attention of several media outlets around the world.  

Dr. Ngamije indicates that the robots will be especially useful in treatment centers, being able to perform temperature screening and detect when people are walking without their masks. If the lack of masks is detected, the robots will provide a voice prompt so the person can be informed and quickly respond to it.   

Also, the robots will continue to educate patients and staff to enhance their knowledge, especially in compliance with Government prevention measures in place to help in the fight against COVID-19.    

Other functions of the robots include facilitating patients with self-diagnosis at the establishments’ entrance or exit points. They can screen between 50 to 150 people per minute according to the press release. In addition, the robots will function as personal assistants to patients receiving treatment by delivering foods and other essential products to them.  

With the help of these robots, the risk that the staff faces at any treatment center when taking care of patients could be greatly reduced.   

Dr. Ngamije shares that reducing the risk of the staff, in particular, is a key achievement. He noted that one of the worldwide challenges is an increased rate of infection for healthcare professionals who are on the frontline treating patients with COVID-19.  

Robots of this kind have been successfully used in countries like South Korea, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and China. They are expected to bring the same level of assistance to Rwanda.  

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