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. The Smart Anti- Epidemic Robots named Akazuba, Ikizere, Mwiza, Ngabo and Urumuri, will be used mainly for mass temperature screening, monitoring patient status and keeping medical records of COVID19 patients.
Designed with various advanced features, the robots will support doctors and nurses at the designated treatment centers and, in the future, at border points and other screening sites in the country.
Among other capabilities, the robots have the capacity to screen between 50 to 150 people per minute, deliver food and medication to patient rooms, capture data (video & audio), and notify officers on duty about detected abnormalities for timely response and case management. Such features are expected to increase timeliness and efficiency in the fight against COVID-19 and reduce exposure of health workers to possible Covid-19 infection.
The Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, emphasised that “Covid-19 has accelerated the need for digital solutions across various industries, especially in the health sector. We would like to thank the leadership of UNDP Rwanda for the prompt support extended to the Government of Rwanda in the fight against Covid-19. There are various innovative solutions being applied to combat Covid-19, and the Robots delivered today, in these treatment centres, will be deployed to support our frontline health workers in treating and containing the pandemic by taking on routine tasks, which will minimize the exposure of our medical practitioners”.
“We are pleased to partner with different institutions to address the COVID-19 pandemic, in this case using technology to enhance health. These robots will help improve service delivery while protecting our valuable health workers against COVID-19 exposure.” says the Minister of Health, Dr. Ngamije M. Daniel.
Mr. Stephen Rodriques, Resident Representative of UNDP Rwanda, comments “COVID-19 presents a huge, complex challenge that requires us to think differently, search for new solutions, and use every available resource to stop its spread.” He notes that in 2019 UNDP Rwanda established its Accelerator Lab (AccLab) – a small team of national experts with unique skills – to work inside the country office and help search for and support development innovations and solutions. “Rwanda is, of course, well known for its appetite for innovation, and its history of developing its own Home-Grown Solutions to complex development challenges. As such, this was a perfect environment for the AccLab team to collaborate with the Ministry of ICT on this kind of initiative which goes outside of the familiar ways of working and taps into the considerable potential of using technology as an important tool to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
A couple of weeks ago, The Ministry of ICT and Innovation and UNDP Rwanda signed a MoU through which both institutions signalled their intent to cooperate in the areas of exploring, testing and scaling local innovative solutions to development challenges, and using technology to effectively respond to the #COVID-19 pandemic, and in future emergencies.
In addition, under the MoU, the parties will also seek to provide grants as well as technical support to help scale other innovative local solutions.