The Humane Emergency Use Canopies and Accessories (HEUCA)

A product of Makerere University School of Public Health ResilentAfrica Network’s (RAN) Co-creation and Design Thinking approach to sourcing for innovations


HEUCA is a unique product being developed by a multi-disciplinary team comprising 16 co-creators including students and faculty. This team is redesigning a service delivery tent to address the difficulties in both treating and preventing Ebola and similar highly pathogenic diseases but also improve service delivery. Currently, users of the standard tents face the challenge of stifling heat from the ambient environment not only in the Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) but also in other service delivery units. The re-designed tent will address the following key issues among others.

-15 °C Temperature Reduction
90% Social Inclusion
95% Improved Airflow

A Re-Imagined Tent to Keep Users Cooler and Safer

"A tent that breathes.."


Ebola Treatment Units and similar service delivery environments for displaced and needy persons can be extremely uncomfortable in hot and humid climates. One of the key causes of this is the design of current tents. The redesigned tent will achieve increase in the time spent in these structures for effective service delivery but also attain quality of care. This product will also address the challenges associated to dehydration from the extreme heat in these structures. It is proven that RAN’s improved designs will cool the tent’s ambient temperatures by at least 5 degrees, achieved passively through smart integration of vents and window level meshes in the design, while keeping the design lean.

We therefore call it ‘the tent that breathes” emphasizes Dr. Roy William Mayega, Project Coordinator, HEUCA and RAN Deputy Chief of Party.

The design will also involve integration of selected rationalized accessories to support human-led service delivery, thereby reducing duplication of effort and creating a tent that is more efficient.


Engaging the Human centered Design approach, the team also continuously tested and evaluated the tents to ensure they meet the highest standards and take into consideration the end users views. The iteration process has greatly informed the development of the tent prototypes for the final product in preparation for mass production.

The tents will also be used for any disease outbreak where isolation is needed or during other humanitarian disasters. “We continue to move full speed ahead because we know there are disaster control conditions which will call for the deployment of the re-imagined tent,” explains Dorothy Okello, HEUCA and RAN’s Director Innovation.

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