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A unique hospital truck fights COVID-19 in the Pyrenees

The mobile hospital is the product of an EU-funded cross-border cooperation

  • November 20, 2020 14:30
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
Medium egalurg hopital
Source: Interreg POCTEFA

A noteworthy example of cross-border cooperation supported by the European Union was demonstrated in the southwestern French city of Bayonne last week. Conceived well before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, this EU-funded project could not have been launched at a better moment. Its main output – a mobile hospital centre meant to provide support in times of natural, industrial or terrorist disasters – has now been fully mobilised against COVID-19.

European tax money well spent

The mobile hospital centre was partially funded by the European programme POCTEFA, the aim of which is to strengthen the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra border area. The cost of the project is co-funded by the EU at 65%, which accounts for 1 523 075 euros.

It is implemented by a group of healthcare and research institutions - the Toulouse University Hospital, the Navarrabiomed Biomedical Research Centre, the Navarre Hospital Centre, the Barcelona SEM and the Côte Basque Hospital Centre in Bayonne. The cross-border collaboration previews the management of common IT resources, the development of new training courses and treatment protocols, and the establishment of innovative technologies that will be deployed around the Pyrenees.

The project was initially conceived as part of the development of the Crisis Response Centre with a mobile hospital, but in the wake of COVID-19, it has regained new importance. During the second wave of the pandemic, the project team decided to adapt their hospital to the needs of COVID-19 patients.

In particular, the hospital includes a 70m2 hospital-truck which can be redeployed by only 4 people in twenty minutes. It has the capacity to accommodate 18 patients.

Inauguration of the mobile hospital on 9 November. Video: CHU Toulouse

In September, the project team organized a “COVID tour”, through the most isolated areas of the Haute-Garonne department with the objective to carry out massive Covid-19 screenings. On Monday, 9 November 2020, the project made its official presentation in Bayonne and its main features were demonstrated: rapid installation and electrical autonomy that guarantee the best working conditions.

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