The swift and inventive method of response by a local consortium of companies during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the introducing of their modular high-tech treatment facilities, they ensured a significant increase in the overall national capacity of medical treatment services.
Committed in alleviating the shortage, SAFEPOD was developed by adapting existing affordable housing plans through the consortium’s expertise in lightweight building solutions, solar energy, medical equipment and software solutions. As the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading throughout the world and before South Africa went into its first lockdown, the need to design treatment facilities for COVID-19 patients was identified and the consortium and partners with specialist expertise came together in March 2020. The innovative homegrown SAFEPOD health facilities were developed and specifically designed to meet and fill the hospital infrastructure gap with facilities to treat COVID-19 patients.
Acting out of the need to address a growing global crises rapidly spreading throughout the world, SAFEPOD CEO, Dave Kruger said, “We predicted the incredible strain that 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. I’m pleased with the result. It’s an innovative, homegrown solution that we can be proud of. I see an incredible opportunity for growth while assisting with an urgent humanitarian crisis.”
Advantages of SAFEPOD:
• SAFEPOD can be erected on any site in South Africa. It adds additional hospital beds, screening facilities, isolation wards and intensive care units to the national health capacity. The medical facilities are fully operational within 3 to 6 weeks of order.
• SAFEPOD hospitals are manufactured in modules in South Africa and so can be erected very quickly anywhere in the country as temporary or permanent structures. The company is also preparing to operate in other African countries where consortium members already have a presence.
• SAFEPOD has a solar power system, air circulation and gas reticulation systems, and all the approved medical equipment needed to treat COVID-19 patients. They have been designed to be erected in urban or in remote rural areas, where the need is likely to be greatest.
Safety and compliance
Following the WHO and the CSIR guidelines for alternate medical facilities, the buildings and all medical equipment comply with safety and compliance regulations specified by ISO, SANS and the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC). 100% locally manufactured and looking at developing local ventilators and beds, SAFEPOD also hopes to reduce its current 70% imported medical equipment content.
Joining the fight
Once the pandemic is over, the SAFEPOD can be scaled up by adding additional modules and the entire facility can then be moved or repurposed into a clinic, classroom or library.
Showing the way to cooperation between the private sector and government, the consortium, through the collaborative development of SAFEPOD, is a brilliant example of the industry’s resilience in a time of need.
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