Cranfield University enlists design against swine flu

The NHS is working with Cranfield University to create design interventions that will increase public awareness in the event of an influenza epidemic.

Master of design students at the university have created a postable flat-pack pop-up bag with pockets designed to hold hygiene and medical products. Would-be recipients can use the bag in unison with a pop-up book to best understand how to cope with and avoid contracting the virus.  

The university began working with the Resilience and Emergency Planning Team for Bedfordshire and Luton in August 2008, looking at how individuals and families can best take action in a disaster situation.

Prior to the threat of H1N1 swine flu, a team, lead by Richard Barrett, lecturer in creative design at Cranfield University, began working on the influenza project.

‘The NHS has been preparing for a long time, as we’re overdue an outbreak by about ten years,’ Barrett says. ‘Our work has already informed policy – the pop-up bag is one of a number of interventions.’

The project, which has been funded by the Emergency Planning Team at Bedfordshire Primary Trust, will see Cranfield University continue to work with the NHS through its Centre for Competitive Creative Design.

Barrett says there is a ‘very real’ possibility that the pop-up bag could be distributed country-wide.

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