Collaborative Innovation in Healthcare Engineering: Mazzetti’s Contribution to Global Health Emergencies


In the wake of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the world witnessed the power of collaboration and innovation to address urgent healthcare challenges. One remarkable example of this unity was the International Federation of Healthcare Engineering (IFHE), which played a pivotal role in supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) by mobilizing teams of skilled architects and engineers to design essential COVID-19 treatment facilities. This initiative marked the genesis of the Techne network—a testament to the potential of collaborative efforts in times of crisis. 

A Steadfast Support System

The IFHE’s partnership with the WHO shows the remarkable potential that emerges when healthcare and engineering converge. Since the pandemic’s inception, IFHE has championed public health by providing a volunteer force of architects and engineers. These dedicated professionals worked relentlessly to design COVID-19 treatment beds, filling a critical gap in healthcare infrastructure. The WHO recognized the significance of this support and decided to amplify its impact by establishing the Techne network—a platform that further harnessed the expertise of architects and engineers worldwide. 

As a member of the IFHE, Mazzetti took the lead in coordinating teams of volunteers to respond swiftly to WHO’s calls for assistance. This collaborative endeavor encompassed more than just teams; it represented a coming together of minds from various disciplines and geographies. The efforts of these volunteers went beyond 24 teams, spanning over 25 countries. This statistic underscores the global scale and influence of such collaborative initiatives. 

Initiating Progress through INITIATE²

In June 2021, a groundbreaking initiative was launched as a response to the pressing need for standardized and innovative solutions in healthcare emergencies. The World Food Programme (WFP) and WHO introduced INITIATE²—a transformative 5-year project aimed at uniting emergency response stakeholders, research institutions, and academic bodies. The primary goal was to develop cutting-edge solutions and comprehensive training programs that could bolster readiness and response capacities during health emergencies. 

INITIATE² was conceptualized following the G20 meeting in Italy in 2021, signaling the world’s commitment to proactive and coordinated responses to health crises. This initiative resonated deeply with Techne, which sought help in design expertise. Mazzetti, on behalf of IFHE, tapped into its network to assemble a Canadian design team that willingly volunteered their skills for the cause. 

Prototype Testing: A Collaborative Milestone

From June 13th to June 18th, 2023, the WFP and WHO orchestrated an event of immense significance which crystallized the essence of collaboration and innovation. Partners and stakeholders congregated to test a prototype of an infectious disease treatment module. Among the attendees were Mazzetti’s Troy Savage, the coordinator of IFHE volunteers, and Willy Schein, a mentor who had played a pivotal role in nurturing IFHE’s design teams. 

The event marked a significant step forward, aligning with the WFP Innovation Accelerator process. The teams involved erected the Infectious Disease Treatment Module and simulated various scenarios to assess its efficacy. This experiential learning opportunity provided the design team with invaluable insights, which they are now harnessing to refine the module’s design. Importantly, the feedback loop included inputs from outbreak emergency medical professionals and other stakeholders, ensuring that the design was attuned to the real-world requirements of healthcare emergencies. 


The IFHE’s journey from mobilizing architects and engineers for COVID-19 treatment bed design to its involvement in the Techne network and the pivotal role it played in the INITIATE² project exemplifies the remarkable impact that collaborative efforts can achieve. Through these initiatives, professionals from diverse disciplines and corners of the world have come together to innovate solutions that directly contribute to global health resilience. 

As we move forward, the story of IFHE and its contributions underscores the importance of synergy between healthcare and engineering. It underscores the power of collective action, highlighting how individuals from different backgrounds, united by a common cause, can shape the future of healthcare preparedness. In a world that continues to face uncertainties, this narrative stands as a beacon of hope, emphasizing that when expertise is harnessed collaboratively, challenges can be transformed into opportunities for progress. 

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