Coronavirus: Rwanda to use high-tech robots in fight against deadly pandemic

Rwanda on Tuesday said the country will put five high-tech robots into use to fight COVID-19 in its treatment centers.

“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,” said Rwandan health minister Daniel Ngamije in Kanyinya hospital, in the capital city Kigali.

The robots, donated to the health ministry by the United Nations Development Program and the Rwandan Ministry of ICT and Innovation, have the capacity to screen 50 to 150 people per minute, deliver food and medication to patient rooms, capture data and notify officers on duty about detected abnormalities, said Ngamije.

The smart mobile robots also have functions like facial recognition, temperature screening, monitoring patient’s status and keep medical records of the patients, he said.

“Because of these capabilities, they will enhance health workers’ efficiency and effectiveness in fighting COVID-19 in our country,” he said, adding that they 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,” said the minister.

According to him, the robots have been given Rwandan names: Akazuba (meaning sun in English), Ikizere (meaning hope), Mwiza (meaning beautiful), Ngabo (meaning shield) and Urumuri (meaning light), which will serve as an interface between the doctor and the patient, thereby reducing exposure of health workers to possible infection of the virus.

As of Monday evening, Rwanda has registered 297 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 203 recoveries.