Innovations That Matter

The project is located in a rural village | Photo source Bob Ditty

Prototype surgical facility designed for rural areas

Health & Wellbeing

A surgical facility built in Uganda uses a variety of sustainable methods to create affordable medical care

Spotted: New York-based Kliment Halsband Architects (KHA) have recently completed a medical project in Uganda that incorporates solar panels and rainwater collection systems. The project is located in a rural village that has limited potable water, reliable electricity, internet, or sanitary facilities. To provide these, the architects made use of local materials and off-grid technology.

The project, the Mount Sinai Kyabirwa Surgical Facility, was designed to be constructed using local materials and workers. Bricks and cladding tiles were made from red clay dug directly out of the ground near the building site and fired in a local kiln. Bricks are a common building material in the region. Using locally-made bricks, rather than imported materials, also helped to support the local economy. 

In order to ensure a reliable energy supply, the architects incorporated a canopy made up of solar panels into the design. The canopy provides shade, as well as power, and air conditioning is only used in the operating rooms. The other rooms are cooled passively. Around 20 miles (32 km) of underground cables were installed to guarantee reliable internet access, which is paramount, because the local doctors use the internet to consult with Mount Sinai Surgery in New York, USA, using a real-time operating room video link.

To keep the price down, costly redundant systems found in high tech hospitals were not included. According to the KHA press release, “This research and simplified construction, relying on local materials, made it possible to deliver cost-effective health care in underserved areas.”

There has been a resurgent interest in finding innovative design solutions for the needs of rural communities. Some of the projects recently covered here at Springwise include modular housing designed for warm climates, and solar-powered water pumps for rural farmers.




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