Did you know that buildings can be designed, engineered and managed to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis? Building architecture and engineering play an important role in aiding professionals in mitigating the spread of diseases in congregate settings such as hospitals.

In South Africa there is a lack of specialised training available on healthcare-related topics in the built environment curricula. This results in low awareness levels and poor technical competence in addressing various issues such as airborne infection risks. In an effort to empower architects, engineers and other professionals working within the construction industry about infection control hazards, Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises UP), in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), recently presented the Architectural and Engineering Approaches to Infection Control short course.

Funded by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the training programme brought together local and international technical experts common to the control of human airborne infections with particular reference to resource-constrained settings. The speakers and course delegation came from as far afield as Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and the Ukraine.

“The CSIR started running the programme in 2011 and 2018 marks the seventh time the programme has been presented in collaboration with Enterprises UP and the CDC,” said Thabang Molefi, Project Director at the CSIR. “The aim of the programme is to provide safe, sustainable health infrastructure that supports the delivery of quality healthcare in South Africa and abroad,” he said.

This course is indispensable to architects, engineers and healthcare professionals who are actively involved in the planning, design, construction, management, operation and maintenance of healthcare facilities, correctional facilities, dormitories or hostels particularly in high-burden TB and resource-constrained settings.

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Above: The delegation that completed the recent Architectural and Engineering Approaches to Airborne Infection Control course.