Thursday, June 13, 2013

Chinese 'container hospitals' ready to deploy in Africa

Li Jiao in Africa's first 'container hospital', developed by Chinese scientists, could be ready for use by the end of the month (June), following two years of development. It will be located in either Cameroon or Namibia, depending on government approval.

Its developers say that the hospital's ten component containers can be slotted together in different configurations, like toy blocks, depending on individual countries' needs.

Each hospital consists of ten containers with rooms for general clinics, waiting patients, treatments, a pharmacy and back-up power supply. The hospitals developers say they can be used for decades if properly maintained, and are intended for long-term service. It is hoped that several African countries will eventually benefit.

In 2010, Liu Yandong, the new Chinese vice premier, signed a memorandum to develop a portable hospital suitable for Africa. The concept was subsequently developed at The Low Cost Health Programme Centre (LCHPC) at the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT), part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has led and funded the project, so far to the tune of 14 million renminbi (US$2.2 million). However, according to Zhou Shumin, director of LCHPC, the funding is not enough, and so the ministry has pledged to invest further.

Zhou says that container hospitals function in the same way as general hospitals — the only key difference is the size....

Stacks of shipping containers, shot by Danny Cornelissen, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

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