Richard Kojan
Medical Advisor and President, The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA)

Before we designed CUBE, the Ebola patient had to stay alone without medical surveillance and without family. It was a bad situation for patients, for health workers, families and communities... With CUBE, the Ebola patient can spend time with their family, they can stay permanently and meet all the time with their family and community. It changes the life of the Ebola patient.

Dr. Richard Kojan is a Congolese physician who created a portable bio-secure emergency care unit called the CUBE to allow for close monitoring of Ebola patients by medical staff in remote, low-resource areas. Kojan has dedicated his career to caring for the most vulnerable populations and currently serves as President of The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA).

The creation of the CUBE was spurred by Kojan’s observations while working in remote Guinea for ALIMA’s Ebola response. After noticing the patient mortality rate was 55%, compared to 18% for patients treated in resourced hospitals, Kojan set out to identify the cause. He found that European hospitals treated Ebola patients in isolation rooms which allowed doctors to continuously monitor patients in a way that was not possible in Guinea, where staff had to wear multiple layers of protective clothing which could only be worn for 30 minutes maximum due to the risk of overheating, limiting their patient interactions to three times per day. 

Together with French firm Securotec, Kojan developed a portable, Biosafety Level 4 portable emergency care unit that allows physicians to continuously observe and treat patients, and also ensures affordable and rapid deployment in low-resource settings. ALIMA debuted the CUBE at the onset of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With 26 CUBE units now in use in the response, they have lowered the patient mortality rate to below 35%, and continue to see success. The CUBE changes the way medical staff interact with patients and the clear plastic walls create an atmosphere of transparency, allowing patients and their loved ones to interact safely. This can help to reduce distrust and fear that may hinder people from seeking treatment. The CUBE is a significant improvement in the emergency response to outbreaks of Ebola and other diseases in remote areas.