There have been a disturbing amount of recent epidemic outbreaks that have hindered and taken the lives of many. In 2014, 11,323 deaths were recorded as a result of the 2014 West Africa Ebola Outbreak. Incidences such as these make us question, when will the next epidemic hit and will the world be able to respond in a quick manner? There is no doubt that the current healthcare system needs to improve its response to avoid the spread of infectious diseases. Ubuntu, a containment bed for epidemic outbreaks, is one graduate student’s response.
Designer Ilteris Ilbasan named the bed “Ubuntu” because it is part of African philosophy that means “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.” The whole design concept centers around creating a comforting containment bed that is accessible to anyone and can be set up quickly.
The package is comprised of Tyvek material with microbial barrier properties, bamboo rods and instructions. It takes one person around an hour to build a bed (and a corresponding privacy barrier). Once the mattress is contaminated, it can simply be discarded and replaced with another Tyvek sheet. All these materials are lightweight and durable, making the Ubuntu an accessible, cost-efficient and quick solution to alleviate a health crisis. The proposal also includes local artwork printed on the privacy barrier and the mattress in an effort to comfort patients and build trust through design.
Although this design may not be the solution to all the problems that come with outbreaks, it provides access to an imperative resource that helps those infected. Ubuntu is not just a simple bed, it is a well-thought-out plan that provides a practical solution while using design to alleviate the fears of communities—a philosophy on full display at Global Grab Show, where PSFK met the designer during Dubai Design Week.