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Two field hospitals completed in N Cape

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Two field hospitals have been completed in the Northern Cape and will be opened on Friday.

File image. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

A SOUTH African consortium under the brand Safepod is adding beds for Covid-19 patients in the Northern Cape with a modular high-tech facility.

Two field hospitals have been completed in the Northern Cape and will be opened on Friday.

These are two seven-bed units that have been ordered by a mining company in the Northern Cape.

The concept is a light building system, which is premanufactured in Isando and containerised for shipment in a knock-down kit.

The system is modular and light, making it quick to assemble and easy to handle with no heavy equipment being required.

Safepod offers up to seven different solutions, from a five-bed to a 35-bed unit. A typical 35-bed unit takes about 20 days to manufacture and install.

Safepod chief executive Dave Kruger said this week that state and private hospitals ran the risk of reaching capacity, especially ICU units, in the coming weeks as the Covid-19 pandemic reaches its peak.

Safepod was established by a consortium of South African companies with expertise in lightweight building solutions, solar energy, medical equipment and software solutions. The consortium includes renewable energy company Africa Clean Energy Solutions (Aces) and mining, civil and roadworks company 3C Tech Mining.

Kruger said in a statement that the home-grown Safepod health facilities were designed to meet the need for facilities to treat Covid-19 patients, and fill the hospital infrastructure gap.

Some of the consortium members had been at an advanced stage in developing affordable homes when they identified a need for additional treatment facilities for Covid-19 patients. Other partners were brought on board with specialist expertise.

They came together in March, when the Covid-19 pandemic was spreading around the world and before South Africa went into its first lockdown on March 26.

Safepod can be erected on any site in South Africa, and can add additional hospital beds, screening facilities, isolation wards and intensive care units to the national capacity.

The medical facilities, erected as temporary or permanent structures, are able to be fully operational within three to six weeks of order, said Kruger.

Each Safepod has a solar power system, air circulation and gas reticulation system, and all the approved medical equipment to treat Covid-19 patients. They have been designed to be erected in urban or in remote rural areas.

“We predicted the strain Covid-19 would put on health care facilities, even in developed countries with better health infrastructure. We pulled together the best South African expertise we could find. It is an innovative, home-grown solution we can be proud of,” said Kruger.

The facility can be scaled up with additional modules, and can be moved or later repurposed to a clinic, classroom or library after the pandemic is over.

The facility was 100 percent locally manufactured, but about 70 percent of the medical equipment was imported. However, Kruger said they planned to develop a local pipeline of manufacturers for ventilators and beds.

The Northern Cape has more than 6 800 Covid-19 positive cases, with 68 deaths.