Tunisian health workers deploy robots to reduce contact with COVID-19 patients

Health workers 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 .

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.

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