COVID-19: IIT designs bamboo furniture for health centres, makeshift isolation wards

Last Updated 30 April 2020, 10:35 IST

A team at IIT-Guwahati has come up with a bamboo hospital furniture range, mass production of which will be quick and low cost, to aid the fight against COVID-19 and meet demands arising out of hospitalisation of more people if there is a spike in cases.

The team at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati's design department has pitched the idea to the authorities and highlighted that the furniture can be used at primary health centres and make shift isolation wards set up in places like indoor stadiums. It can be easily disposed off when the virus has been contained.

According to Ravi Mokashi Punekar, a professor at the institute's design department, over 200 beds can be manufactured per day using the design.

"Bamboo craft forms an important economic driver in the northeast region of India. However, for a craft that is so prevalent in the region, its effective utilisation for public community facilities like health centres in rural areas were limited and this particular project demonstrated the potential," Punekar told PTI.

"The hospital furniture range that we have developed is an appropriate and sustainable solution to meet local infrastructure needs and concurrently creating job opportunities for craft-persons using bamboo and cane available in the region," he said.

"Considering the present pandemic scenario, where there is an urgency in improving the basic infrastructure facilities in our primary healthcare services, it offers scope for collaborative interaction amongst the various stakeholders for the improvement of health services in particular and the overall development and the wellbeing of the community," he added.

The institute is in touch with with two local entrepreneurs who have agreed to undertake the manufacturing of the furniture and the designs have also been shared with Guwahati Medical Hospital.

"Given the current pandemic situation, if the situation arises, the bamboo furniture range will help. If there is spike in number of cases and more infrastructural demand rises, then the furniture can be used in setting up makeshift isolation wards like in stadiums. The furniture can be used during that period and disposed off when the need is over," Punekar said.

The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 824 and the number of cases climbed to 26,496 in India on Sunday, according to the Union health ministry.

The death toll increased by 45 and the number of cases by 1,554 since the ministry last updated its data on Saturday evening.

The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 19,868 while 5,803 people were cured and discharged, and one patient has migrated, the ministry said.

(Published 30 April 2020, 10:30 IST)

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