Rwanda’s government is using drones in densely populated, difficult-to-reach neighbourhoods and high-risk zones to urge compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures.
Police procured drones with a capacity to broadcast sound and record high definition images.
The intervention was prompted by a lack of compliance by residents to follow directives to stay home, wash hands, respect physical distancing and wear masks because of low accessibility of the affected areas by community awareness teams.
Drones were deployed to compliment radio/ TV messages and the work by community health workers and other community leaders by bringing educational messages directly to residents by air.
Head turning. Congrats Rwanda: With Covid-19 health messages all over, it’s easy to tune them out, but not when a drone is flying toward you with a safety precaution, like this one in Kigali.
— James Hall (@hallaboutafrica)
Rwandan authorities were able to reach places that broadcasting trucks couldn’t reach because of difficult terrain or lack of manpower.
Police said once once the phase of curiosity passed, residents started adhering to the messages being delivered by the drones.
Rwanda has been exploring the integration of drones in different sectors since 2018, from blood delivery and larvicide spraying, distribution of medicines for chronic patients during lockdown, to topography in agriculture as well as taking pictures to promote tourism in the country.
The recorded footage allows local authorities to closely monitor areas for the need for any intervention or evacuation that would normally take longer to identify and organize.
Drones were deployed by the Rwanda National Police to different areas of Kigali City, mainly high-risk zones and densely populated areas such as Kimisagara, Nyamirambo and Kanombe.
The Rwanda National Police Force added drones to their methods of raising awareness about COVID-19. The drones will pass from one neighborhood to the other. Kenya should try this,
— DR.ALFRED.LETEMERE (@AlfredLete)
Currently, they are being used in the Rusizi and Rubavu Districts where new clusters were identified and put back under lockdown.
Data drawn from the images captured by the drones has allowed the authorities to deploy resources directly to areas identified to be in need on interventions.
This strategy supported much in compliance of COVID-19 prevention measures especially in remote and very densely areas where it would be difficult to halt the spread of the pandemic, said the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Rwanda.
Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) at district levels analyse the data and send daily reports to the central government.
OTHER HIGH-TECH INTERVENTIONS
With the support of UNDP Rwanda and other donors, high-tech robots have also been introduced at treatment centers to administer temperature checks, monitor patient status, and keep medical records of COVID patients.
Robot ‘Urumuri’ has just been
deployed to Kigali International Airport where it will be performing mass
The use of robots is meant to minimize risk of infections among health care workers.
Close to 2000 people from across sectors are working in different areas of interventions including epidemiology, dealing with surveillance, contact tracing, lab testing and case management, including psychological support.
Other important supporting areas of intervention are risk communication and community engagement and planning logistics.
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