Kenya Gets Robots to Work Alongside Doctors

RoboRafiki's named Tumaini, Jasiri and Shujaa which were presented to Kenya's Health Ministry on Friday, January 22, 2021

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Government of Japan have given Kenya three robots that will help doctors combat the Covid-19 pandemic

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe received the three robots (RoboRafiki) named Tumaini (Hope), Jasiri (courageous) and Shujaa (hero). They will be placed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Kenyatta National Hospital and Mbagathi Hospital.  

"Covid-19 has shown us that disease does not respect national boundaries. Today, as we deploy the robots, we shall be a step ahead in combating the virus,” Kagwe said.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe during a daily press briefing in April 2020
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe during a daily press briefing in April 2020

The robots, made by a Shenzhen-based Chinese company called Ubtech, will assume some of the roles medics have been undertaking in hospitals. 

They can perform temperature checks on individuals, broadcast messages that remind one to sanitize, detect whether people are wearing masks and disinfect a contaminated area. 

They are programmed to collect patient information, analyze the data and provide instant statistics for investigation.

According to UNDP, the robots can measure the temperature of 10 to 100 people per minute at a distance of 2.5 metres to 3.5metres. 

The use of robots will also protect frontline workers by reducing direct contact with people who might have Covid-19. 

Over 400 medics have contracted Covid-19 in Kenya with nearly 32 succumbing to the virus.

As of Thursday, January 21, the Ministry of Health recorded 99,630 positive cases from a total of 1,142,543 tests done. 1,739 fatalities and 82,729 recoveries were recorded. 

UNDP representative Walid Badawi presents robots to the Ministry of Health in Nairobi on Friday, January 22, 2021
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