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Gujarat university designs Covid testing unit in autorickshaw

PUBLISHED ON JUN 12, 2020 12:18 AM IST

In an effort to boost testing facilities and provide portable oxygen facilities, Anant National University has designed a compact, mobile and contact-free Covid-19 testing and oxygen facility in a cargo autorickshaw.

The Gujarat-based university has created three variations of the rickshaw. One is an oxygen response facility with a stretcher that can act as an emergency response vehicle, one with contact-free swab testing facilities for two patients, and one with x-ray testing and swab-collection facilities.

While the first two cost 4.25 lakh and 5.4 lakh respectively, the rickshaw with x-ray facilities will cost 11.4 lakh.

The autorickshaws are also fitted with a stretcher on the side to transport patients to the hospital. A large number of patients have not been able to access ambulances and hospitals in Mumbai in the past few days.

“These are compact autorickshaws that can reach the narrow lanes of slums and facilitate door-to-door testing. The interiors of the facility are also partitioned in three chambers, one for the driver, one for healthcare provider and one for the patient,” said Dr Miniya Chatterji, Director, Anant Centre for Sustainability, and CEO of Sustain Labs.

The vehicle for swab testing is contact-free as it is fitted with two windows from which healthcare providers can collect swab samples.

The university is in talks with local governments in Maharashtra and Gujarat where the facilities are expected to roll out soon, said Chatterji. To run the equipment 24x7, a diesel generator is fitted on top of the vehicle.

Professor Dhaval Monani, Director of Affordable Housing and Associate Professor, Anant National University who designed the rickshaws, said in order to maintain high standards of sanitation, the patient area comes with an automated sanitiser spray that is activated by four jet nozzles that thoroughly disinfect the area each time a patient leaves the chamber.

“We found two challenges in the country with Covid-19. One is that the testing costs are high and the second is that patients are not able to make it to the hospital in time owing to shortage of ambulances. Therefore, in consultation with different medical practitioners, we re-engineered the autorickshaw so that the facility can reach all patients,” Monani said.

The university had earlier designed cardboard beds that have been utilised in quarantine facilities in Mumbai.

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