In Battle Against the Coronavirus, Health Care Gets Mobile

From inflatable hospitals to temporary hand-washing facilities, countries are working to improve access to health care and help citizens stay healthy. These photos highlight some of the efforts in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.

View Team
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Pachuca, Mexico

Sergio Ibarra installs a water tank outside an inflatable hospital in Pachuca, a city in the state of Hidalgo in central Mexico. The Hidalgo state government began setting up the hospital in early March to attend exclusively to patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The inflatable hospital was inaugurated March 17, and its first patient was transferred from a local hospital four days later. The hospital houses 50 beds and is divided into areas of intensive care and intermediate care, and an operating room. It measures 1,800 square meters (19,375 square feet) and will be staffed with 200 specialists in the coming months.

The federal government has announced plans to install similar inflatable hospitals or to outfit existing buildings specifically for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Officials in Mexico extended social distancing measures and the restriction of nonessential activities until May 30. Mexico has reported 12,872 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of April 25, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center. A total of 1,221 people have died.

Aline Suárez del Real, GPJ Mexico

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Mafararikwa, Zimbabwe

Archford Mutemachani washes his hands outside his home in Mafararikwa, a village in western Zimbabwe, near Mutare. Most homes in the area have outside toilets, so local health care officials have been encouraging people to use a similar system to wash their hands.

The Zimbabwean government instituted a nationwide lockdown March 30, restricting movement except for essential trips and services. The borders have also been closed for all except returning residents. Zimbabwe has 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and four deaths as of April 25.

Evidence Chenjerai, GPJ Zimbabwe

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Erdenet, Mongolia

Ikhzaya Boldbaatar, left, a teacher at Byalzuukhai kindergarten in Erdenet, gives school and cleaning supplies to Enkhtsetseg Purevdulam, the mother of a student. The school has been closed since January due to the coronavirus.

Mongolia was one of the first countries to close its borders, schools and other public institutions when the coronavirus started to spread in neighboring China. Schools in Mongolia are not scheduled to reopen until at least September, which left teachers with piles of supplies originally donated by parents. Because the cleaning supplies may lose their effectiveness before the start of the next term, school officials decided to distribute them back to parents.

“Sanitary and school supplies are being returned to their parents because they are likely to expire and deteriorate,” says Ikhzaya. “We will need to get new supplies when we go to kindergarten in the fall.”

The country has reported 37 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of April 25.

Khorloo Khukhnokhoi, GPJ Mongolia

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Chihuahua City, Mexico

Alejandra Aguirre washes her hands at one of several temporary sinks installed throughout downtown Chihuahua, a city in northern Mexico.

The sinks are equipped with liquid soap and water, which flow through a pedal system to further decrease the likelihood of spreading germs. The stands also include step-by-step instructions for proper hand-washing.

The municipal government of Chihuahua arranged for these hand-washing facilities to be installed starting in early March, for use by the essential personnel who still have to travel to work.

“Now people who can’t stay home and come to the area have a place where they can come and wash their hands,” says Brenda Reyes, a municipal police officer.

Lilette A. Contreras, GPJ Mexico

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