Ubuntu aims to reduce mortalities and adversities during emergencies
   by teaching the communities how to increase capacity rapidly by
   building low cost and specialized beds out of local resources.
   This very first version is designed for disease outbreaks by studying
   the West Africa Ebola Outbreak 2014-2016

   Umeå Institute of Design 

    MFA Advanced Product Design
    Degree Work – Spring 2016 – 20Weeks

   

 

 

 

Studying the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola Outbreak

 

There have been a disturbing amount of recent epidemic outbreaks that have hindered and taken the lives of many.
The World was far too slow to react with 2014 West Africa Ebola Outbreak, which led to 11 323 deaths out of 28 646 known cases. One of the major problems during the outbreak was the lack of capacity. With only 30% of the required capacity available, many of the contagious incoming patients had to go back to their communities, thereby infecting others which made the outbreak harder to control, and increased the mortality rate. In addition, patients with other diseases weren’t be able to get treatment. On top of that, poor economy and corrupt health systems pushed the community not to believe in the healthcare provision that health-care workers were offering. So, while most of the hospitals were overwhelmed by Ebola patients, some haven’t even received a single patient.

What if we could be ready to contain the next big epidemic outbreak rapidly, considering the lack of resources and trust?

Lack of Capacity vs. Lack of Trust

 

 

One of the major problems during the outbreak was the lack of capacity. With only 30% of the required capacity available, many of the contagious incoming patients had to go back to their communities, thereby infecting others which made the outbreak harder to control, and increased the mortality rate. In addition, patients with other diseases weren’t be able to get treatment.
 

 

 

Even though the majority of the treatment centers didn’t have enought capacity for more people, two-thirds of the 696 beds in Liberia’s Ebola Treatment Centers were empty in November 2014 due to the lack of trust by the community in their health system, in western medicine and also in the existence of the virus itself.

 

Instead of shipping products, what if the solution could be about sharing the knowledge of building a containment bed with resources which could be accessible locally when a rapid response is needed?
Given the scarcity of resources as well as a lack of institutional trust, Ubuntu offers to build the containment beds with local bamboo rods in order to bypass the challenges of logistics during emergencies, enhance the collaboration and trust within the community.
The containment bed kit includes zip ties and a roll of Tyvek material which has good microbial barrier properties. Assembly instructions are printed directly on the Tyvek. Once the bamboo rods are collected, the simple bamboo frame is easy to construct and can be built by a single person in roughly one hour. Tyvek material is looped around the structure to create a comfortable mattress and a privacy barrier for a dignified environment.
Once the mattress is contaminated, it can simply be discarded and replaced with another Tyvek sheet. All these materials are lightweight and durable, making the Ubuntu an accessible, cost-efficient and rapid solution to alleviate a health crisis.
The artwork printed on both mattress and barrier, aims to comfort the community and build trust through design by applying the region’s traditional and cultural graphic styles. The proposal is that the artwork can be done by the local artists from the affected area.