Photo: UNDP

Viet Nam is a tropical country that is prone to many different infectious diseases like H1N1, H5N1 and SARS and yearly incurring diseases such as Hepatitis A and B, and dengue fever. The National Hospital for Tropical Diseases is the frontline hospital to receive patients who get these highly contagious diseases. According to Dr. Nguyen Vu Trung, Deputy Director General of the Hospital,  so far, the hospital only has PPE and tries its best to protect doctors and nurses, however there are still people who are at high risks because of their direct contacts with patients, especially when they do some procedures for care and treatment.

Handing over the Robots to the Hospital today, UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam Caitlin Wiesen said: “These Robots provide safe interface between the doctor and the patient for diagnoses and they enable doctors to see far more patients at a time. They are fully automatic and can be managed from a large distance and provided the added function of tele-medicine and tele-training, that will be very important for the interface between the National Hospital and hospitals in rural areas”. She added that the intention was not to replace existing doctors and nurses, it was to complement and to provide safety in highly infectious context.

Photo: UNDP

Dr. Nguyen Vu Trung, Deputy Director General of the Hospital thanked UNDP for donating these Robots. “This is the first time for us to see the robots of this kind,” he said. “I think these Robots will help us a lot, the non-contact procedures will protect us”.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases, we have also used remote interaction tools, such as monitor camera in the patient room and apps to interact with patients. However, the quality of image and the flexibility of the interaction are limited. So we ended up with direct contacts with the patients,” said Dr. Tran Van Bac, Deputy Head of the Hospital’s Emergency Department.

“We hope that these Robots will help us reduce direct contacts. The audio-visual quality and the ability to remote control can help us diagnose and detect symptoms from afar. Moreover, this Robot can be used in providing tele-medicine and tele-training for people and health workers in remote areas. With our role as the leading hospital for tropical diseases, we hope to utilize various applications of this new Robot,” Dr. Bac said after testing the Robot.

This is the first in series of robots to be delivered from UNDP to Hospitals for testing ecosystem and robotic applications: diagnosis, tele-training, autonomous delivery of supplies for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The second Robot, BeetleBot will be delivered in July. After the test of these 2 types of robots, UNDP will organize dialogues among different robots makers, as well as among the hospitals, healthcare system stakeholders and robot makers, thus building a healthy robotic ecosystem in Viet Nam./.

Khac Kien