With mobile hospitals, healthcare provision is possible even in remote areas with poor infrastructure. The tents can be put up or taken down within a few hours, medical devices can be unpacked and packed up again. But that wasn’t always the case. As recently as the 1960s, the health centre you see here was intended to be deployed for a disaster response. With an operating table, a stretcher, oxygen masks and bandages.
The panels on the wall explain how missions are organised these days. Take the example of the mobile hospital, which is stored at the main warehouse in the Schönefeld district of Berlin. In just 72 hours, the Red Cross can dispatch the hospital to a crisis zone. Once set up, it fills a football stadium – with a maternity unit, an operating theatre, its own water and power supplies, toilet facilities and admin areas. It can provide on-site care for around a quarter of a million people. This valuable cargo is accompanied by an experienced team that works with local doctors and care personnel on the ground.
One of the most serious problems during disasters – such as flooding and earthquakes – is the supply of drinking water. To the right of the entrance, the museum has set up a display of drinking water purification then and now – a major issue during deployments.
The TOF 100A is a portable drinking water purification unit from the 1960s, designed to reprocess radioactive water. It was never used.
Next to it, you can see a TOF 200B, which is capable of purifying up to 200 litres of biologically contaminated water an hour – that’s about 44 gallons.
Today, the national organisations have more up-to-date units in storage. If necessary, they can be loaded on to a plane and dispatched at very short notice.
In the next room, we have a remarkable display of vehicles and equipment for normal operations from the 1960s to the present – some genuine rarities!
Foto 1, 2: © Rotkreuz Museum
Foto 3: © Dagmar Trüpschuch