Special COVID-19 care on wheels

A new mechanism, designed to be fitted on autorickshaws, ensures contact-less testing and oxygen facility

June 10, 2020 06:48 pm | Updated June 22, 2020 03:31 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Medical care innovations that require less contact and is mobile enough to reach inaccessible locations are the need of the hour in these pandemic times. A new facility, designed to be fitted on autorickshaws, is just that.

The mechanism has been developed by Anant National University, the Ahmedabad-based design and architecture varsity, in such a way that COVID-19 testing and portable oxygen facilities are compact enough to be fitted into a goods autorickshaw.

The varsity has been engaged in transforming vacant spaces in Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, and other places across the country into temporary hospitals and quarantine centres.

The current mechanism—the Anant COVID-19 Testing and Oxygen autorickshaw—has walls retrofitted as partitions in the vehicle and isolation chambers created for patient, health worker and driver. The patient area comes with an automated sanitiser spray activated by four jet nozzles to disinfect each time a patient leaves. Two variations of the mechanism, one for swab collections (priced at ₹5.1 lakh) and the second for X-ray testing (priced at ₹11.5 lakh), has been developed.

The facility, which can reach the doorsteps in narrow lanes where even ambulances cannot, needs only a driver and a health worker to handle the X-ray machine and the oxygen supply.

Both versions of the facility also come equipped with a stretcher that can be used to transport patients to the hospital. To run the equipment round the clock, a diesel generator is fitted atop the vehicle.

Initiated and led by Miniya Chatterji, director, Anant Centre for Sustainability, and CEO Sustain Labs, the Anant COVID-19 Testing and Oxygen autorickshaw has been designed by Dhaval Monani, director of Affordable Housing and Associate Professor. Joel Fernando, visual designer and multimedia associate, stepped in with assistance while Anunaya Chaubey, Provost of the varsity, was the adviser.

The auto is equipped with cutting-edge technology and necessary medical equipment to ensure accuracy and promptness. The X-ray testing for COVID-19 facility can test more than 500 people daily.

“We have invested heavily in high end medical equipment like automated sanitiser sprays and X-ray machine that is contact-free and gives immediate results,” says Miniya Chatterji.

The university has set up a 20-bed temporary hospital in the conference hall at RGIDS, near Neyyar Dam, in Thiruvananthapuram. In Mumbai, it has partnered with the BMC and set up a 100-bed facility in Najambaug, 250 beds at St. Xavier’s College, and 350 beds on MP Mills premises.

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