With the rising number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country, the Department of  Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has started converting shipping containers into mobile health facilities as part of its continuing efforts to assist the Department of Health (DOH) in this time of crisis.

Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villas said that a prototype health facility was already converted by the DPWH National Capital Region (NCR) from a shipping container. 

“We’re ready to convert these containers into mobile hospitals.”

“While spread of infection seems to have slowed down because of the enhanced community quarantine, we just have to be ready in the event that the situation worsens,” said Villar.

The DPWH Task Force to Facilitate Augmentation of Local and National Health Care Facilities formed by Villar has earlier recommended the conversion of shipping containers into emergency healthcare facilities which is also being adapted worldwide.

According to Public Works Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain, head of the DPWH Task Force, four high cube containers of 40 feet long by 8 feet width and 9 feet height can be connected together to create mobile field hospitals for the possible isolation and treatment of 16 patients classified by DOH as probable COVID-19 cases.

Based on plans for a one story health facility, a 40-footer shipping container is divided into four rooms and designed per DOH guidelines and recommendations to have proper ventilation, and toilet and bath on each room inasmuch as every probable COVID patient needs full isolation. 

The DPWH has also prepared design plans for high cube shipping containers 20 feet long that can be converted into nurses’ stations, utility room and separate temporary quarters of male and female healthcare service personnel.

“We’re ready to convert these containers into mobile hospitals and install them in any available hospital grounds  or open public spaces,” said Villar.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One, urgent measures to meet the health crisis have been ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte to assist the DOH in the establishment, construction, and operation of temporary medical facilities.


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