2810 km from South Africa, Albatross, Hottentot Gulch

The quest for the most remote hospital led me to the most remote island. It’s Tristan de Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean – a group of 5 islands. Only Settlement: Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.
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275 British citizens, an active volcanic island, the “worlds most isolated settlement”. Discovered by the Portuguese admiral Admiral Tristao da Cunha in 1506. After some attempts the British Military took possession of the island on behalf of King George III. – 14th august 1816. A look at the world famous postage stamps and more history here.

Locally unique: The Tristan Albatross, 110cm, or the critically endangered by the house mouse. While having become extinct on Tristan there is a small population on Gough Island (UNESCO World Heritage), 400km south-east of Tristan de Cunha.

The Camogli Hospital
Named after the home town of 1892 Italian settlers Andrea Repetto & Gaetano Lavarello, was built on an exposed site at the west end of the Settlement near Hottentot Gulch in 1971. Replaced the Station Hospital in temporary buildings erected in 1942.

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Project Tristan, 2007. Patient Data to be analysed in the USA over secure link; satellite communications and remotely supported health record technology. With the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
Pharmacy within the hospital opened in 2008.
Staff: 1 resident doctor, 5 nurses
Beds: 4 single rooms, 2 beds in day ward
Wards: 2 and 1 for labour
Dental rooms
X-ray department (with 2 portable machines)
And: waiting area, emergency room, consulting room
1 theatre (anaesthetic machine and endoscope)
1 Ambulance
Serious injuries: Cape Town, South Africa

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EoD_HD043_Jul2013_Tristan_da_Cunha_Hospital (PDF)

The future? See this very interesting 24 pages analysis about the Camogli Hospital Redevelopment by Evidence on Demand, an international development information hub in the UK (with the assistance of the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

The vision is to enlarge the hospital from 357 m2 to 813 m2. There are 3 options to refurbish the hospital, the maximum project would be 1,6 mil pounds GBP. As well as ideas about modular concepts and transport.

Again – hospital development is on the way. Even in remote places. I continue my quest to make some incredible “invisible” engagements visible. It takes courage to live on Tristan de Cunha – a 6 days boat trip of 2810 km from Cape Town. And it takes courage to take responsability about the island healthcare.

Maurice Codourey

PS. The new Camogli Healthcare Centre opened June, 2017. (Hugh Broughton Architects)

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