Rwinkwavu is located in Kayonza district in the East of Rwanda, a mainly agricultural region.

The Rwandan Ministry of health noted that the mortality rate in children under 5 years old was higher than that in neighbouring districts. In collaboration with Partners in Health, a non-profit organization which works to bring modern medicine to the needy, they observed that neonatal care was a priority, and they launched the expansion of the local hospital.

Enlargement would be to provide more surgery theatres at the hospital, a neonatal ICU, another ICU for mothers, and a room of Kangaroo care.

To develop the project they invited to MASS Design Group, a design study which had already been involved with the Ministry in another hospital in Butane, Rwanda.

Today I want to talk about the “big project” which has resulted in the expansion of the hospital:

To start to develop the expansion, the study met with doctors, patients, staff, local staff, and the Ministry of health to create a plan of needs and priorities, as well as social norms that should be addressed in the project.

To complete the design and construction of this new area was introduced the concept of “Lo-Fab” (locally made): local labour engages for the construction and the use of materials such as stone, wood or terracotta bricks. This system reduces the cost of construction, work and training is given to local people and aesthetics is integrated into the local landscape.

Natural light has prevailed except in the surgery area. All rooms have large windows to have natural light and in some rooms beds have been directed towards the windows to enjoy the views, that also representing a cost saving.

These large windows also take advantage to natural ventilation; ventilation crusade than combined with mechanical ventilation which helps to reduce the transmission of diseases.

There is a friendly warm and close environment thanks to a group of women who were in charge of the decoration: they have recovered ornaments Imigongo, graphic art with geometric patterns and contrasting colors. In addition to decorate they have used these symbols as signaling elements, thus differentiating the zones by colors.

The family is very important for the Rwandan society. The arrival of a new member is a source of great joy and the family wants to help the parents. They have set up large areas of waiting outside; so hospital heat load is reduced and not bother the patients.

This “great project” has been possible thanks to the involvement of many people, where each of them has contributed with their bit of sand, knowledge or skills.

As you can see, optimizing resources we have and involving people, an awesome project can be done.

Just joining forces: together we add more.

A major premise of the design says: less is more.

Best regards,

Mónica Ferrero
Lab In Action, design studio