Orkidstudio, the humanitarian design charity supported by Drum Property Group, has completed the build of a new Rural Hospital in Zambia.

Orkidstudio works to benefit communities through innovative architecture and construction. Drum has been a key supporter of the charity since 2014, having helped fund the design and construction of a community centre in Sihanoukville, Cambodia and a children’s home in Nakuru, Kenya, in addition to this recently completed health centre in Sachibondu.

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 (those who can reach the centre on the same day as leaving their home) catchment area of over 10,000 people. Beyond that, the wider catchment area is difficult to estimate due to the extremely remote location. 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.

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 Orkidstudio can change this.

Orkidstudio 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, they can help improve the health and well-being of patients and staff beyond the building.

Orkidstudio 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.

 The new Sachibondu Hospital will not only provide better healthcare for the community, but also aims to inspire through an innovative type of architecture and empower through the process of design and construction.

Orkidstudio completed the construction of two new staff houses in 2018, and the new Hospital is due to open before the end of 2019.

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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.