Press release: Southampton surgeon helps create 'IKEA clinic' for global health disasters

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A Southampton surgeon has helped to develop a flat-pack health clinic – dubbed "IKEA for emergencies" – for use in global conflict and disaster zones.

Tim Dudderidge, a consultant urological surgeon at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, is involved as president of Doctors of the World UK (DOTW-UK).

The organisation is an international non-governmental humanitarian organisation which is part of the Medecins du Monde network.

Known as the Global Clinic, it is a low-cost, easily-assembled and durable solution to the challenges currently faced in trying to create a safe and private space for patients and doctors.

"In refugee camps, natural disaster zones and conflict situations, healthcare needs are urgent and addressing them is critical," said Mr Dudderidge.

"Children, women and men need help treating wounds, both physical and emotional, but local structures are often destroyed or overwhelmed.

"As a result, doctors have to work in tents that quickly become ice-cold or sweltering, in unhygienic vans or unwelcoming shipping containers or in huts that provide no privacy for their patients."

The clinic has been designed for rapid deployment and long-lasting intervention and is constructed from 25 pieces of plywood that are made into 298 parts. They are then delivered as a flat-pack and assembled in one day with no need for tools or machinery.

"The clinic is low-cost and easy to assemble – a bit like an IKEA design for emergencies – but it is also robust enough to last decades," said Mr Dudderidge.

"It is an attractive, dignified and comfortable space where patients can receive medical and psychosocial support and will become the temporary health clinic of the future."

The team led by Mr Dudderidge at DOTW-UK worked alongside a design team which included architects from Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners with the support of BuroHappold Engineering and business and environmental consultancy Chapman BDSP.

A prototype is currently on display at the Wellcome Collection museum in London, with DOTW-UK aiming to raise £20,000 to enable the first deployment of the new clinic. To donate, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/global-clinic. For more information about DOTW-UK, visit www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk.

Posted on Friday 22 March 2019