India has launched a portable hospital named the Aarogya Maitri Aid Cube, which can be used to provide rapid care for up to 200 patients in events such as wars, earthquakes and floods.

Described as a world-first, the portable hospital comprises 72 aid waterproof cubes that can be assembled in an hour into a working hospital and airlifted to a disaster zone.

According to The Guardian, the cubes contain tents measuring 15in², as well as medical equipment such as portable X-ray, ultrasound machinesand ventilators.

Each of these cubes weighs less than 15kg and measures 38cm³.

The cubes are all waterproof and corrosion-proof, having been dropped from helicopters and drones to test their resilience.

The hospital also has a mini intensive care unit and an operating theatre designed to treat burns, serious injuries, fractures and major bleeding in remote areas and low-income nations.

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A solar-charged generator is used to power the Aarogya Maitri Aid Cube, which also includes a cooking station.

The project was designed indigenously under Project BHISHM by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defence and the National Security Council. 

HLL Life Care was the government’s designated agency for sourcing the mobile facility.

Its consultant, Dr Ankita Sharma, said the blueprint was finished after a year of collaboration with engineers, doctors, army medics and designers.

Dr Sharma said: “If the immediate need at the site is for life-saving surgery, then the operating theatre can be assembled first ‒ this takes just ten minutes.

“The doctors can start surgery while the remaining cubes are assembled.

“If it’s an earthquake where you get lots of fractures, then you pack in more cubes containing equipment for bone injuries and remove some of the bleeding injury kits needed for soldiers with bullet or bomb injuries.”