Meet 5 anti-epidemic robots that will help Rwanda fight COVID-19
These robots were donated to Rwanda by the United Nations Development Program. Robotics engineers from the UNDP are expected to train staff of the Rwandan Health Ministry on how to use the robots so they can utilise them in combating COVID-19.
Akazuba, Ikirezi, Mwiza, Ngabo, and Urumuri are the five robots enlisted by Rwanda -- the East African country with 327 cases of the novel coronavirus -- as part of its battle against the highly-contagious disease.
These cool robots were donated by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to the Kanyinya treatment centre that treats COVID-19 patients in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali. They were received by the country's Minister of Health and Minister of ICT and Innovation last week.
Today, at Kanyinya Treatment Centre, @UNDP_Rwanda handed over five (5) Smart Anti-Epidemic Robots to the Government of Rwanda, represented by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of ICT and Innovation. pic.twitter.com/PVeTMYJHQu— Ministry of ICT and Innovation | Rwanda (@RwandaICT) May 19, 2020
HOW WILL THESE ROBOTS HELP?
The robots will help in mass temperature screening, monitoring patient status, and keeping medical records of COVID-19 patients. They can screen up to 150 people every minute for symptoms of the virus such as high temperature and dry cough.
Rwanda's Minister of Health Daniel Ngamije says that they also have the capacity to capture sound and visual data of patients and can notify health workers on detected abnormalities.
He had said earlier that “these robots will perform temperature screening in our treatment centres. The robots will detect people walking in not wearing masks so that with the voice, the command post can quickly be informed and respond."
PREVENTING HEALTH WORKERS FROM COVID-19
Having robots to help in combating COVID-19 also helps in preventing health workers from the virus. The Rwandan government wants its health workers to have limited physical contact with patients under their care.
So far, more than 90,000 health workers across the world have contracted the disease while treating positive patients.
So in order to keep its medical workers safe, these robots will be utilised to deliver medicine, food, and other essentials to COVID-19 patients undergoing treatment. They are programmed to communicate properly and can also educate health workers and patients on the dangers of the virus and how to stay safe.
Robotics engineers from the UNDP are expected to train staff of the Rwandan Ministry of Health on how to use the robots so they can put them to work.
Rwanda is not the only country utilising robots to fight the pandemic. In the US, a robot was used by doctors to treat the first person in the country to get COVID-19. The robot in a hospital in Seattle was employed to check the man's vitals, limiting contact with health workers.
In Japanese capital Tokyo, the metropolitan government earlier this month introduced robot staffers -- one semi-humanoid robot dubbed “Pepper” and another autonomous vacuum cleaner robot known as “Whiz” -- in hotels where coronavirus patients with mild symptoms are staying. These robots intended to cheer patients and boost morale.
They also remind patients to check their temperature regularly and repeat phrases like “united in the fight against coronavirus”.
In Singapore, remote-controlled robots are providing meals and teleconferencing services to reduce risk of more people getting infected.
Last month, researchers in China designed a "coronavirus robot" they said could help save lives on the frontline amid the outbreak. The machine consists of a robotic arm on wheels that can perform ultrasounds, take mouth swabs and listen to sounds made by a patiet’s organs, usually done with a stethoscope.