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Designed by: Dhaval Monani, Associate Professor and Director, Affordable Housing

The COVID 19 crisis is unprecedented in scale. Health infrastructure that is stretched in the best of times is facing a challenge which it is ill-equipped to handle. India has one of the lowest rates of government beds per 100 population in the world – 0.55. The only way to fight COVID-19 is to test more people and provide more beds to quarantine and treat those testing positive.

Our team came up with a framework on how existing vacant and unused infrastructure — empty halls, residential and commercial buildings can be converted as COVID recovery facilities for quarantine, treat mild and moderate infections at a fraction of the cost compared to setting up a hospital. A detailed road map was submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for implementation. We also saw the need to develop alternative solutions to existing medical furniture which are costly and in short supply.

We needed designs and materials that would be easy to produce, assemble, transport and set up at economically viable cost as the volumes needed are very large. We identified laminated corrugated board as the ideal material which is:

  • Environmentally friendly and recyclable
  • Can last up to 10 years
  • Easy to procure
  • Scalable and easy to transport

We collaborated with a local manufacturer in Rajkot and a design firm Avantgarde Design Studio to produce a quarantine/hospital bed, side table and foldable divider. All three of these items cost between 8 to 15% of what conventional items would. The designs have kept the costs low and opposed to virtually all other corrugated alternatives in the market, our products are laminated so they can be spray disinfected and are not affected by cleaning. These beds are sturdy, water-proof and quick to develop at a cost of Rs. 1300. These are a sound replacement for the steel beds which cost no less than Rs. 5000 these days.

We are collaborating with the BMC and local MLA Mr. Amin Patel and Milind Deora to convert multiple locations across Mumbai into COVID recovery facilities. With our execution partner Habitat for Humanity India and support from the local bodies, we can transform designated locations in less than a day. The cardboard beds were a game changer, for not only do they allow for the quick set-up of a recovery centre, they also allow for easy transportation, and lowered costs.

Currently the cardboard beds are in use at four recovery centres:

  • 20 beds at RGIDS, Thiruvananthapuram
  • 100 beds at Najam Baugh, Mumbai
  • 250 beds at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai
  • 350 beds at MP Mills compound, Mumbai

Watch the video on how to assemble the beds here.

To read more about this initiative, visit the In The News section.