The proposed a new infectious diseases facility in Macau

Hames Sharley’s reputation for health expertise received a boost during March when the World Health Organisation contacted the Health Portfolio for an international assignment to provide specialist input into the decision-making process for a major hospital project in Macau.

As a result, health architect Alastair Baird travelled to Macau to inspect the proposed plans for a new infectious diseases facility. Here he met with other members of the review team, Dr Li Ailan, Director, Health Security and Emergencies for the World Health Organisation, Ms Claire Elizabeth Kilpatrick, an Infection Prevention & Control Consultant from Glasgow and Dr Clive Tan, Technical Officer (Hospital and Clinical Services), Health Systems Development, Division of Health Systems for WHO. Together they were requested to review and evaluate the plans and operational arrangements made by Macau to address a major disease outbreak.

The context for this review was the World Health Organisation’s concern that the Asia-Pacific Region could become a hotspot for emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) given that the first EID of the 21st century, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), originated here. Since then, the region has faced many more serious EID threats and other public health emergencies. Most recently, Zika virus and its possible association with microcephaly and Guillain-Barre Syndrome have been a cause of global concern.

Because of this potential threat, the Macau Health Bureau is making active preparations to address an outbreak. The reason for this is that any infectious disease epidemic would have a significant impact on their economy which is very heavily dependent on tourism. As part of their preparations, they are proposing to build a 120-bed extension to their main public hospital, comprising six 20 bed isolation wards with 100% single isolation rooms.

When the World Health Organisation was invited to provide an international team of experts to advise on the project, they contacted Hames Sharley to provide the relevant expertise in hospital design and planning. Congratulations to all those involved in meeting the World Health Organisation’s need for the provision of expert specialist advice for this essential healthcare facility.