Rwanda: The 5 Innovations Rolled Out to Fight Covid-19 in Rwanda

Since March 14 when the first case of coronavirus was recorded in Rwanda, the country, just like many in the world, has been grappling with the pandemic.

The pandemic has so far claimed 15 lives in the country and on the global scale, and over 810,000 people have succumbed globally.

Covid-19 preventive measures which mainly include physical distancing, washing hands and properly wearing masks have become part of everyday life.

To keep up with these measures, there have been many innovations that were rolled out in Rwanda to help people live with the virus and return to work and conduct their routine activities with relative safely.

This article looks at five local innovations that were created in bid to battle with Covid-19 pandemic.

Spraying kiosks

Mid-August, Rwanda Biomedical Centre launched spraying booths that will be placed on public places entrances.

The kiosks are mainly designed to automatically spray disinfectants on individuals who walk through them, in addition to other functions like hand sanitization, temperature measuring, and automated collection of information from individuals in one place, and in a short time.

Spraying booths that will be placed on public entrances. / Craish Bahizi

The anti-Covid-19 kiosks were designed by a local tech-company SMS Group. Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, Director General of RBC said it is good for the general public to recognize that the Covid-19 battle is not for specific people but for everyone.

The kiosk costs Rwf10,350,000, but there are cheaper models that don't have the option to collect information costing about Rwf3.5 million.

Anti-Covid-19 smart robots

In May 2020, the Ministry of Health launched five robots named Akazuba, Ikirezi, Mwiza, Ngabo, and Urumuri. The human-size robots are programmed to perform temperature screening, take readings of vitals, deliver video messages and detect people not wearing masks then instruct them to wear masks properly.

A robot dubbed 'Urumuri' has been deployed to Kigali International Airport for performing mass screening. / Sam Ngendahimana

The robots are deployed in treatments centres and other designated places.

Urumuri is deployed at Kigali International Airport where it has the capacity to screen up to 150 people per minute and report abnormalities to officers on duty.

The robots were made by Zora Robots and each costs about $30,000.

Step-and-wash handwashing facilities

Late in March, a video showing portable handwashing facilities set in public and people washing their hands went viral on Twitter. Influential figures and world leaders applauded Rwanda's effort and good understanding of Covid-19 measures.

Portable handwashing facilities set in public and people washing their hands. / Craish Bahizi

The mobile sink-like facilities that allow people to properly wash hands with soap and push water with a foot without any contact, can be found almost anywhere in Kigali.

They are produced by ECOMEM CO. Ltd, a company that deals in supply and distribution of construction and sanitization materials located in Gisozi, Kigali. It was the sole distributor of the portable hand-wash sink, at a time when the country was in dire need of them.

Drones and motos to raise awareness

For someone living in Kigali, seeing drones hovering above neighbourhoods with a microphone attached to it speaking about Covid-19 related information and reminding the public to observe precautionary measures has become normal.

The drones are deployed by Rwanda National Police in different areas of Kigali City mainly high-risk and densely populated areas to raise awareness with educative messages directly to residents by air.

Drones have been being used in different life-saving interventions in the country since 2018 from blood delivery and larvicide spraying, facilitating distribution of medicines for chronic patients during lockdown in Health sector, to topography in Agriculture, and taking pictures to promote tourism in the country.

Churchgoers using mobile app to book space at church service

When churches were allowed to open in early August, many worshipers were turned back as early birds occupied all the seats which had been reduced in observance of physical distancing measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Looking for a solution, Rock Software Solutions Ltd built a mobile app that allows visitors of worship places to reserve seats in advance.

The app can be used by both smartphones and features phone users. By dialing *810*100#, the first-time user is required to register, enter your name before the system takes you through a series of prompts to record your residence, from province to village.

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