Robot helps Tunisia medics avoid infection from coronavirus patients
03 May 2020
The medical staff interact with a robot in a hallway at the Memmi hospital in the city of Ariana, Tunisia, on Sunday. AFP
Medics have deployed a robot in a Tunisian hospital caring for coronavirus victims to limit contact between staff and infected patients, in a first for the North African country.
The tall, single-limbed machine is mounted on wheels and is capable of taking pulses and checking temperatures and blood oxygen levels.
The medical staff take a selfie with a robot. AFP
It enables nurses, doctors and patients’ relatives to make virtual bedside visits.
“It allows a reduction in contact with the sick and therefore the risk of contaminating personnel,” said Nawel Besbes Chaouch, a doctor leading the pulmonary department at the Abderrahmane Memmi hospital in Ariana, near the capital Tunis.
A screen mounted at the top of the robot enables audiovisual communication with patients, who in turn can see and recognise the faces of those caring for them — an impossibility when medics otherwise have to use full protective gear.
A website allows families to reserve a time slot for a virtual visit, where the robot is remote-controlled into the patient’s room to allow a video conversation.
The robot was designed and made in Tunisia, by Enova, a start-up based in Sousse.