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Inflatables are popping up all over the place nowadays and it seems that they aren’t being used just as advertisement anymore (even though they are incredibly effective). In previous posts, I’ve written about the advent of inflatable buildings and tools, like pubs and computer mice, but today I’ve found an inflatable structure that is incredibly important to the wellbeing of many people. Inflatable hospitals!
Although the concept of mobile hospitals is nothing new, only the most recent technology has been used to prepare inflatable hospitals for the rigors of constant usage in poor areas. According to this article, inflatable hospitals were actually used as far back as the 1940s, but obviously weren’t as effective as the setups that organizations now use.
Currently, in disaster-stricken Haiti, the non-profit Doctors Without Borders has inflatable hospitals set up with complex structuring:
“The inflatable, plug-and-play hospital that MSF set up in Haiti consisted of 9 tents – each more than 1,000 square feet, according to Hocine Bouhabib, a logistics director at MSF. The tents have plastic-tile flooring, and are made from the same fabric used for inflatable lifeboats. Interior and exterior walls are constructed of nylon and space is left between them so air can be pumped in for an insulating effect.”
This photo gallery shows the effort and massive undertaking necessary for setting up an inflatable hospital. The process is certainly time-consuming, but definitely rewarding in the long run, particularly if people without medical care can receive help when needed. Doctors Without Borders has had a lot of success with inflatable hospitals around the world, but there are drawbacks.
It is possible for these structures to be punctured with debris (or shrapnel in war zones), but the infrastructure offered by inflatable hospitals shouldn’t be overlooked. They are self-contained and feature an entire electrical network with plugs for all of the necessary medical equipment. In the short run, inflatable hospitals are a great replacement for areas that do not have permanent medical establishments.