Makerere’s Epi Tents Set up to Help The National COVID-19 Taskforce

  • by Rodney Mponye
  • June 8, 2020

Makerere University’s one of a kind Epi-tents, an innovation of the Univeristy have been setup and donated to the national coronavirus taskforce headed by Hon. Mary Karoro Okurut. The university vice-chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe revealed.

Researchers developed the one of a kind Epi Tent through the Resilient Africa Network, a project of Makerere University under the School of Public Health with the aim of contributing to the fight against global health challenges.

In recent months due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Epi Tent has been set up in various locations across the country like Mbale, Mbarara, Masaka RRHs, and in Gulu.

Most recently, the installation of the Epi Tent at Malaba port of entry was completed. The tent was received by Maj Denis Turyagyenda the In charge Malaba port of Entry.

The portable Epi tent hospital system accommodates 16 beds but can be expanded to 96 beds by attaching 6 units end to end. With this, Regional Referral and General Referral Hospitals can rapidly expand their surge capacity to handle patients and contacts in the hundreds during any Epidemic. Separation of highly infectious patients from the mainstream admission areas is crucial in our hospital settings that do not have negative ventilation systems to prevent non-socomial transmission.

The EpiTent, is a humane tent for scaling emergency health care space in very hot humid climates. The tent’s smart design drives a convectional current through the cavity and reflects a large amount of radiation to reduce ambient temperatures by 10 degrees centigrade during the hottest 8 hours of the day.

This mechanism makes the tent ‘insanely cool’ in very hot conditions, using purely adaptive means. 13 smartly selected accessories supported by its strong steel frame transform it into a ‘portable hospital’ space.

Its large enmeshed windows reduce social exclusion and allow for humane views and breathability. Patient relatives for instance can stand behind some barriers meters away on the outside and shout a message of encouragement to their sick loved ones.

The clever engineering also ensures that the tent does not fly-off from heavy winds in areas like Adjumani, cave in from sagging water on the roof, or shower the patients with water during a storm. The tent’s reliability and ergonomic advantages have been tested in a 3 year endurance study involving two units in Adjumani. The steel frame and members will last at least 10 years while the cover will last 5 years. Every part of the unit can be cleaned and disinfected. The unit is portable – you can put it in a box and carry it to another location.