The CTICC field hospital: A small part of a large project

Last week, the South African president addressed the people of this country, speaking of the enormous sacrifices everyone had made going into lockdown at an early stage in the country’s epidemic. By entering lockdown early, the nation was able to slow the rate of infection and buy valuable time for the government to prepare.

Part of preparations included the establishment of field hospitals across South Africa. Minus40 had an inside view of one such facility, deployed earlier this month within the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), now dubbed “the Hospital of Hope”. If you’d been watching a video of our president’s visit on the 5th of June, you may have even seen one of our fridges!

It takes more than manpower to manage a project of this size, and here we take a closer look at how it was accomplished in only a month.

The general rule of thumb is that a hospital needs beds, but what most don’t realise is how much more needs to be considered. The cavernous centre’s exhibition halls have been transformed into vast hospital wards with 850 beds, roughly the size of a major hospital. Between the wards, stations for doctors and nurses have been installed, along with our very own Minus40 Medical Fridge to ensure storage for medications.

The exhibition halls have been divided up into different sections, with dry walling between each. Electricity is supplied to every hospital bed, along with oxygen. Other parts of the CTICC have been converted into toilet and shower areas, as well as other support functions and marquees.

It took a team of 40 to pull off the metamorphosis, all focusing on various areas, including infrastructure, engineering, IT, health technology and staffing. Over 100 external contracting companies, like Minus40, contributed to work on the site.

The CTICC is currently the biggest Covid-19 field hospital in Africa and will provide an additional 1400 beds for its province. It’s now an integral part of the fight against COVID-19 and is already treating patients.

We hope this initiative and its success will be recreated across our country to ensure capacity as cases rise.