Ubuntu - Containment Bed for Epidemic Outbreaks


The world was far too slow to react with 2014 West Africa Ebola Outbreak, which led to 11 323 deaths out of 28 646 known cases. One of the major problems during the outbreak was the lack of capacity. Due to the fact that only 30% of the needed capacity was available, many of the contagious incoming patients had to go back to their communities, ending up infecting others. In addition, patients with other diseases weren't be able to get treatment. On top of that, poor economy and corrupt health systems pushed the community not to believe in the healthcare provision that health-care workers were offering. So, while most of the hospitals were overwhelmed by Ebola patients, some haven't even received a single patient.
What if we could be ready to contain the next big epidemic outbreak rapidly, considering the lack of resources and trust?


Ubuntu as an African philosophy, means “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”. The containment bed idea is based on sharing the knowledge of building a containment bed with resources which could be accessible for a rapid response anytime.
The package includes zip ties and a roll of Tyvek material which has good microbial barrier properties. The instructions explaining how to build a containment bed out of bamboo sticks are printed on Tyvek.
Once the bamboo sticks are on site, it takes around an hour to build a containment bed just by one person. Tyvek is looped around the structure to create a comfortable mattress and a privacy barrier. When the mattress gets contaminated, it can be easily removed and replaced with another Tyvek sheet which decreases nosocomial infection risk, compared to cleaning.
All of these three materials are light-weight, durable, and easily accessible. The bed can be used to transport the patients between wards with less amount of workers due to the light-weight of the installation.
The artwork printed on both mattress and barrier, aims to comfort the community and build trust through design by applying the region’s traditional and cultural graphic styles. The proposal is that the artwork can be done by local artists from the affected area.
Next time when we are facing an epidemic, what if we can response much faster, and give healthcare provision to all the people in need? What if design can build confidence in poor healthcare systems?