Patients are under lockdown and health workers are at risk of infection. Paul Webster reports on how telemedicine is being embraced like never before.

In the face of a surge in cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), physicians and health systems worldwide are racing to adopt virtualised treatment approaches that obviate the need for physical meetings between patients and health providers. But many doctors are watching warily.


Read more: Virtual health care in the era of COVID-19

Two of the most pressing needs worldwide in the coronavirus pandemic are for more hospital beds and testing centres. No country in the world has enough hospital beds or intensive-care unit (ICU) beds for a pandemic. Even the best prepared, like Germany with 33.9 ICU beds per 100,000 citizens, does not have enough.
Most countries have locked down to buy time by flattening the infection curve so fewer patients will present to hospital at once. They hope to use the time to boost hospital capacity.
But the design challenge is significant. We need structures that can be quickly and easily assembled, are inexpensive and meet technical requirements. Architects have always worked on such challenges – the Living Shelter is one recent example.
Here in Australia a consortium is working to develop two designs, one for hospital intensive care units and one for COVID-19 testing centres, that can be used across the country and overseas. By using recycled shipping containers as the core structure, the price of the buildings will be less than a third of the cost of conventional designs.
In both building types, the container doubles as structure and packaging. This means the designs are self-contained and easy to distribute anywhere in the world. All the building parts, technical equipment, cabinets and other fit-out materials pack into the container.
Douglas Abdiel, the director of charitable foundation P&G Purpose, and architect Robert Barnstone are working together on the design and delivery of these hospital units and testing centres.
Barnstone specialises in disaster relief architecture. He has developed designs for emergency housing for the International Red Cross and rapid deployment schools for countries afflicted by disaster. This experience gave Barnstone invaluable insights into the economics and potential construction systems for the hospital units and testing centres.
What are the key requirements?
Read more: Hospital beds and coronavirus test centres are needed fast. Here’s an Australian-designed solution


Background: Over the last two decades, the World Health Organization (WHO) has proposed a global strategy and initiatives to build robust capacity for a Health Research System (HRS) focusing on Health Research Quality and Standardization (HRQS), Health Research Knowledge Transfer and Dissemination (HRKTD), and Health Research Translation and Utilization into Health Care Decisions and Policies (HRTUDP). Despite the expansion of health research productivity for several decades, HRS Capacity (HRSC) in Palestine and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region generally has rarely been objectively evaluated. This study aims at eliciting the perceptions of HRS performers in Palestine in order to understand the status of the capacities of HRS, identify gaps, and to generate policies and solutions capable of strengthening HRSC in Palestine.

Methods: Purposive methods were used in this qualitative study to identify key informants from three sectors; government, academia, and local and international organizations. Fifty-two in-depth interviews were conducted with key informants and a total of fifty-two individuals participated in six focus groups. Data were analyzed by using MAXQDA 12.

Read more: Health Research Capacities in Palestine: High-quality and Proper Knowledge Transfer and...

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