Updated May 24, 2019
The bulk of emergency humanitarian operations globally occur in hot regions. Frontline emergency workers in tropical and equatorial climates work under very stressful conditions characterized by extreme heat and humidity predisposing them to heat stress and the related complications. In health emergencies, the extreme conditions also affect quality of patients care. Due to extreme heat and discomfort, health workers cannot spend more than an hour dressed in the full-body PPE. This lessens patient contact time yet much of the required treatment is supportive. In deadly epidemics, frequent donning and doffing put health personnel at risk of infection. They are more liable to unforced procedural errors as they move back and forth into contaminated zones to allow ‘cool off’ intervals. Patients and care takers (where applicable) also endure similar conditions. The extremely hot environment in their isolation wards exacerbates their risk of electrolyte imbalances due to excessive perspiration. Patients face extreme boredom and stigma from the social exclusion caused by the closed-off environment in isolation units. Humanitarian workers in non-health related service delivery also suffer some of these challenges.
A team of students and faculty from the ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) www.ranlab.org (a USAID funded project implemented by the School of Public Health)at Makerere University www.mak.ac.ug, the College of Engineering, Design and Art (CEDAT) and various private sector development partners have designed the next generation tent for service delivery in humanitarian emergencies in hot humid climates. The project was funded by USAID’s Fight Ebola Grand Challenge. The new design keeps the favourable features of the current tent designs, namely their simplicity, cheapness and structural safety, while revolutionallising the mechanism for heat and air exchange in the tents. More info can also be found: http://www.heuca.ranlab.org/heuca
The breakthrough:Through purely non-assisted adaptive systems:
· The new design reduces the average ambient air within the tent cavity by 50C during the sunny part of day-time.
· The new design reduces the average ambient temperature by between 5-70C during the critical hottest 8 hours of the day. This will substantially reduce heat related discomfort.
· More importantly, it reduces the maximum temperature reachable in the tent cavity by 9-120C (From a TMAX attained by the existing standard tent of 50C). This greatly reduces the chances of heat stress.
· The tent too substantially reduces social exclusion by allowing occupants free perception of the outside environment, yet maintaining privacy. This will reduce the stigma attached to patients in isolation units e.g. Ebola treatment centers. It will also reduce boredom.
· An assortment ofaccessories have been carefully selected to transform the tent into a potable office/health center. Their selection was based on an observation of emergency service delivery workspaces to determine a minimum package of embeddable accessories.
Adaptive systems rely purely on unassisted measures to achieve cooling. There are 6 main sources of ambient heating in enclosed structures: Air temperature (determined by the outside temperature), radiation (from the sun, and the walls of the tent), airspeed, humidity, subjects’ clothing, and subjects’ metabolic rate). From the structural point of view, the first 3 are modifiable. The HEUCA design blends 2 technologies to achieve the temperature reduction:
· A smartly designed lean ventilation system
· A smartly designed heat absorption system
To achieve these, the structure is re-engineered, but in a smart and neat way to keep the costs low.
|Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted||200|