Honiara : 5 March 2018
Letter to the Editors, Solomon Star and Island Sun newspapers.
RELOCATABLE MEDICAL CLINICS
A company in the United States has designed and exported relocatable medical clinics to meet global needs.
Quoting from the company website this is what is said about the clinics built in the manner of a 20 foot metal container.
“We believe that every human being should have access to quality healthcare. Our hearts are bent toward meeting the needs of the underserved populations of the world. These relocatable clinics are designed and built to serve patients in remote or isolated environments, or in areas where a more traditional hospital is impractical.”
“The Clinic In A Can was conceived and designed by medical professionals with extensive field experience working with disaster relief and health services in the United States and in developing nations worldwide. From our work, we realized the acute need for an economical, ready-to-use medical clinic solution, versatile enough to function in many situations throughout the world. As a true turn-key solution, our clinics are ready within minutes to be used.”
“Clinic In A Can has an international presence with clinics in: Ecuador, Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Kenya, South Sudan, United States of America, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. Our clinics are also used domestically for disaster relief, re-locatable clinics as well as for isolation wards.”
“THE IMPORTANCE OF DESIGN AND WORK FLOW”
“More equipment does not always mean a better clinic if the work flow is obstructed. The actual finished interior floor space of a 20 foot clinic is 17 feet X 7 feet or 119 square feet. Designs that attempt to divide this space into multiple rooms or that oversell the usable floor space will lead to medical staff who are frustrated. Small cluttered exam rooms will be an obstacle to providers when attempting to position patients for exams and limit accessibility for the elderly and those with disabilities.”
“Our clinic floor plan emphasizes the importance of free-flowing work space. This has been accomplished first by building structural walls that all medical equipment and storage cabinets can be mounted to, regardless of weight. This is very important, as moving equipment up off the floor and onto the walls frees up valuable floor space. Second, the layout has medical storage cabinets at the far end of the room and all medical equipment mounted on one long-wall creating a virtual hall-way for staff and patients to move freely.”
“Another distinguishing feature of the Clinic In A Can design is that our entry door and windows are located right behind the double container cargo doors. First, the double cargo doors act as an extra layer of security when closed. Second, this allows the container to be shipped as normal cargo instead of break-bulk. Any doors or windows cut and welded into the metal skin voids the container CSC safety certification. Without a valid safety certification, the container cannot have other shipping containers stacked upon it, which results in increased shipping cost for the client. Third, installing windows and a door on the long side of the wall decreases the surface area that we use to mount computers, tables and medical equipment. Fourth, installing a door in the middle of a container is a "T" design dividing the usable floor space in two, accessible at 90° angles. The space directly in front and immediately to the sides is considered limited or dead floor space as this is an entry and exit point. Finally, a linear floor plan allows for maximum use of floor space. Ergonomically, it is a superior design when transporting and transferring patients from a gurney, stretcher or wheelchair for treatment. A patient goes straight in and straight out. No 90° degree angles to navigate.”
“Our flexible platform can be configured as a primary care unit, critical care unit, surgical suite, trauma/emergency unit, dental suite, or most any other medical space as needed by our clients.”
Whether or not the transportable clinics could be used in the Solomon Islands to replace those rural clinics that were built in the early Colonial times but are now largely dilapidated and needing replacement would, I expect, depend on their costs, freightage to the Solomon Islands and an assessment by the MOHMS of their practical value.
More information can be obtained by referring to the manufacturer’s website (which gives illustrations of the clinics and contact details).