While Western Europe and the United States have been dealing with rising cases and struggling to contain the outbreak, other countries have been utilizing new technology and enforcing new guidelines to protect their communities. The East African country of Rwanda has become a world example of how to efficiently keep cases low.
As of this writing, four coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Rwanda, which has had only over 1,400 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic—one of the lowest in the world. One reason is free COVID-19 testing being made readily available to everyone, especially to those most vulnerable. It is common to see a team on the street asking people if they want a free test.
“So whenever someone is driving a vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle, or even walking, everyone is asked if you wish to get tested,” Sabin Nsanzimana, director general of the Rwanda Biomedical Center, said in an interview with NPR. “All these samples are sent that day to the lab [here in Kigali]. We have also six other labs in the other provinces.” According to Nsanzimana, the government spends between $50 to $100 on a single COVID-19 test.
The country also utilizes advanced technology such as robot nurses to deal with the increase in new patients. According to CNN, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) donated six robots to the Kanyinya treatment center in the capital city of Kigali that will be used for services like mass temperature screenings, monitoring patient status, and maintaining patient records.
“These robots will perform temperature screening in our treatment centers,” Dr. Daniel Ngamije, Rwanda’s minister of health told CNN. “The robots will detect people walking in not wearing masks so that with the voice, the command post can quickly be informed and respond.”