Sachibondu Hospital
Located in one of the most remote corners of Africa, on the Zambian border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, the Sachibondu Rural Health Centre is the only healthcare provision for tens of thousands of isolated people with many having to walk days to reach this much needed source of help.

Previously a Rural Health Centre, Sachibondu serves an immediate catchment area (those who can reach the centre on the same day as leaving their home) of over 10,000 people. In many cases patients have been reported to walk or travel up to ten days from their home in order to reach the Centre. It is anticipated that this catchment area could number well in excess of 50,000 people.

The original facilities at the Sachibondu Rural Health Centre were of poor quality and limited space, meaning that the Centre struggled to cope with the increasing numbers of patients arriving each day

With a history spanning more than five decades, development and growth of the centre has always been dictated by urgent need, with little or no design input.

In remote areas such as this, resources are scarce and buildings are typically inadequately ventilated and suffer from low light levels, even during the middle of the day. These environments can perpetuate the spread of infection and disease, but there are ways that we can change this.

We believe that by delivering spaces which are well lit, effectively ventilated, comfortable to be in and are based on an understanding of local healthcare practices, we can help improve the health and well-being of patients and staff beyond the building.

We developed a masterplan and development strategy for the Centre, incorporating patient wards, clinical and diagnostic testing facilities, a specialist infectious diseases unit, operating theatre, staff housing and a maternity waiting home.
In 2013, Dr Tony Moll, a medical doctor at the Church of Scotland Hospital in Tegula Ferry, South Africa, reported an outbreak of extreme drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). In identifying the cause, he said “the hospital wasn’t designed for airborne infection control”.

The hospital in question was poorly designed even by the most basic of standards. Wards with little natural light and poor ventilation, cramped corridors with waiting patients, and no proper waste disposal systems. In circumstances such as this, renowned global health expert, Dr Paul Farmer, claimed that it was the building itself that killed people.

If it’s accepted that poor design can damage health, then it’s logical to believe that good design can do the opposite and heal people.

Our project is committed to delivering spaces which can enhance psychological and physiological health and well-being and are based on an understanding of local health care practices to improve the health of patients beyond the building.

“Health is the state of physical and mental well-being, not just the absence of infection and disease.”
Jackson Amone, Dpt. of Clinic Services, Uganda Ministry of Health

The new Sachibondu Hospital will not only provide better healthcare for the community, with well-lit and properly ventilated spaces, but also aims to inspire through an innovative type of architecture and empower through the process of design and construction.
Location: NW Province, Zambia
Year: 2016 – 2019
Built Area: 2,400 m²
Engineers: StructureMode
M&E: Buro Happold and HOK
Medical Planning: HOK, Global Emergency Medicine and Bea Sennewald