A team from Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres) opened an inflatable hospital in Tacloban, one of the cities in the Philippines that was hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan in early November. The hospital was erected in late November to provide medical services to the thousands of people who are struggling in the aftermath of the storm’s destruction.
The inflatable hospital was developed specifically to respond to natural disasters. It was used previously after the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
The hospital consists of four inflatable 100-square-meter (900-square-foot) tents and a fifth tent with an area of 45 square meters (405 square feet). It was set up on the grounds of the Bethany Hospital, which was seriously damaged by Haiyan. Setting up the hospital was challenging because the group’s volunteers has to clear the area outside the hospital and put up the inflatable rooms at night in the pouring rain.
The inflatable hospital includes an emergency room, a wound care room, a pharmacy, and up to 45 beds. It is equipped to provide in-patient and out-patient consultations and surgery. Additional care will be available once repairs have been made to Bethany Hospital’s surgical and maternity wards, neo-natal unit, and equipment sterilization unit.
Doctors Without Borders’ medical team in the inflatable hospital will assist the few other hospitals in Tacloban that are still operating and take on some of the work done by the first teams of rescuers, who are beginning to leave the area. They expect that most of the patients they will be treating from now on will have common diseases or conditions related to lack of access to medical care.