The robots Akazuba, Ikizere and Ngabo were deployed to help assist doctors at a Covid-19 treatment facility a short distance from Rwanda’s capital Kigali with the aim to minimize contact between patients and health workers.
The robots are initially programmed to carry out simple tasks like taking temperatures and monitoring patients and could be programmed to do even more tasks like taking blood pressure and the blood sugar etc.
A high-tech robot developed by Zora Bots, a Belgium-based company, and donated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) helps frontline workers tackle the coronavirus crisis in the East African nation which so far has 355 confirmed cases. More robots have aslo been deployed to other treatment centers across Kigali.
“The three robots that we have are part of the treating team,” said David Turatsinze, a doctor at the 75-bed facility, which housed 65 patients when the Reuters team visited.
By relaying messages to doctors and helping the team assess the effectiveness of their clinical decisions, the robots cut the number of bedside visits that doctors have to make.
Francine Umutesi, a bio-medical engineer who works as a health technology operations specialist at the ministry of health, said the robots were a first for Africa and had the potential to offer even more support to medical teams.
“It doesn’t remove the tasks the doctors are supposed to do, it’s just complementing their efforts,” she said.
Rwanda already uses drones to deliver blood and enforce restrictions designed to slow the spread of Covid-19.