Robots deployed to help Bahrain's frontline workers in virus fight

Future plan is to use robots in providing nursing care

  

Bahrain's authorities have deployed two robots to help frontline workers in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak.

Dubbed as a medical revolution by the country’s health officials, the robots have been assigned to isolation wards dedicated to treating patients who contacted the virus.

They will assist in checking the body temperature of Covid-19 positive patients, administer daily medicines, and sterilise treatment rooms.

Recognition

One of the robots also speaks 12 different languages and can identify patients through facial recognition.

Health Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Waleed Al Manea said yesterday that this was their first time foraying into Artificial Intelligence (AI) and using it to fight the pandemic.

“We have started using the robots in the isolation and treatment facilities as part of the experimental phase to use AI in the health sector,” he said yesterday.

“It is certainly a new medical revolution and we want to see how this benefits patients and staff.”

Dr Al Manea explained the new move was a result of experts constantly monitoring new measures and technologies being used globally to fight the coronavirus and adopt the best practices.

“This new technology will help doctors and nurses as they can evaluate the effectiveness of the robots and help incorporate them in their daily work,” he added.

The ministry’s Under-Secretary for Resources and Services Fatima Al Ahmed also revealed that the new addition to the medical cadre followed the signing of an agreement with a French company based in Bahrain.

The company supplied the Health Ministry with the two robots for the pilot phase.

“During this period, we want to provide the best protection and safety to all healthcare staff and further minimise their exposure by using technology in the national efforts to fight Covid-19,” said Ms Al Ahmed.

“One of the robots speaks 12 different languages, checks the body temperature of patients, serves them meals, gives medicines and identifies individuals through facial recognition.”

She said the second robot is dedicated to only sterilisation of rooms, buildings and surfaces.

It is understood this robot emits pulses of ultraviolet light to disinfect a hospital room or other areas.

Ms Al Ahmed further said the robots have sensors that help them complete the tasks, along with voice recognition to interact with patients and staff.

Nursing

“The future plan is to use robots in providing nursing care that will be a big step to boost health services in the country,” she added.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the UAE have already rolled out robots to combat the spread of the pandemic.

The GDN reported earlier this month that police in Bahrain have also deployed drones equipped with loudspeakers to enforce social distancing measures in the capital.

They are being used in crowded areas raising public awareness, in different languages, about precautionary and safety measures against Covid-19.

sandy@gdn.com.bh

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