The new Children's Surgical Hospital in Uganda

Healthcare of Excellence

Opened in April 2021, the Children’s Surgical Hospital in Entebbe offers free paediatric surgical care.

The impact of the EMERGENCY Children’s Surgical Hospital in Entebbe has two-pronged effects.

First, with its 72 beds and 3 operating theatres, it is supposed to become a point of reference for paediatric elective surgery, and to treat hundreds of children a year, from all over Uganda and the African continent.

Secondly, it will bring a systematic change: the aim is to make the hospital a point of reference for the national healthcare system, helping train a generation of doctors and nurses who can raise the standard of paediatric surgery all over Uganda.

The Children’s Surgical Hospital is the second milestone of ANME (African Network of Medical Excellence), created in 2009 to develop free, high-quality healthcare systems in their countries.

The centre was designed by Renzo Piano and his Building Workshop (RPBW), TAMassociati studio and EMERGENCY’s Building Division, structural design by Milan Ingegneria, plant design by Prisma Engineering, and landscape design by Franco and Simona Giorgetta.

Their challenge was to combine excellent surgery and excellent architecture, two disciplines that, on the surface, do not have much in common. The result of this combination was healing architecture.

The concept of healing architecture is very simple. Beauty is not just an aesthetic choice; it is part of treatment. It can have a physical and mental effect on patients and so play a part in healthcare.

What most struck me that day was something Gino said: “I want a scandalously beautiful hospital.” Those two words together were the perfect plan, not to mention a promise: we would bring the best of our skills, all the facilities, technologies and resources needed. As Gino says, it is a duty to share the best results we have achieved, be it in medicine, surgery or architecture. And then there was that adjective, ‘beautiful’, which carries a precise idea of beauty that I share totally. As sometimes happens, we found ourselves saying the same thing in different languages.

Renzo Piano

Sustainability

One of the most fundamental but also trickiest aspects of our work in Entebbe was coupling the prerequisites for the project; beauty and excellence, with sustainability – the thing that makes the first two both possible and lasting.

The Children’s Surgical Hospital is one big experiment in a circular economy. Its walls are made of earth dug from its own building site and decked in thousands of solar panels that help cover its energy demands. And earthen walls and solar energy are only half the story. Every resource, from water to heating, is calibrated, assessed and managed in the knowledge that this hospital was built for Uganda and will one day be handed over to the local authorities, for good.

The facility was built with excavated earth. Load-bearing walls were made of raw earth using the traditional rammed earth. Rammed earth is a simple and cheap construction method. We planned to maximise its ingenuity by using the same architectural principles used for traditional houses in an innovative way.

The ancient process of rammed earth was transformed into a cutting-edge technique, thanks to comprehensive experimentation and tests by everyone involved, both architects and partner firms.

Acknowledgements

A special thank you to the companies that, from the outset, have supported and followed the construction of EMERGENCY’s Children’s
Surgical Hospital in Uganda. It was a journey that began on a warm afternoon in late July 2015, at the Politecnico di Milano, with the first meeting of project presentation by Gino Strada and Renzo Piano. On this occasion, all the principles and values underlying the
project were outlined: the rights of individuals, excellence, equality, beauty as an essential element of the path to treatment. Most of the companies that joined the project were present at this meeting, but also the seminal idea on which that project was born, providing EMERGENCY not only with the materials needed for construction, but also with competence, passion and awareness of taking part in something important and full of meaning. Everyone has made their contribution and over the course of these years we have learned to understand each other and to work together. To give substance to the guiding principles that EMERGENCY’s activities have always abided by: the universal right to treatment, the excellence of medical care and, consequently, the recognition of the equality of all human beings. Thank you to all those who believed in this journey from the beginning and to those who joined later,

A Project by:

EMERGENCY BUILDING

STUDIO RPBW

TAMASSOCIATI

WITH THE CONTRIBUTION FROM:

MILAN INGEGNERIA
PRISMA ENGINEERING
STUDIO FRANCO E SIMONA GIORGETTA

GAE ENGINEERING
J&A CONSULTANTS

STUDIO FH – KAMPALA

Why take part in the project?

By supporting the new Children’s Surgical Hospital in Uganda, companies can take part in a crucial project – not only from a humanitarian point of view, but a unique challenge both culturally and in terms of its sustainable approach to healthcare.

The main characteristics of the project are:

  • Excellence in its approach to medicine, care and structures,
  • The promotion of a culture of peace by putting human rights into practice.

How to become part of the project

Companies that want to support EMERGENCY’s Children’s Surgical Hospital in Uganda can do so either by providing goods and services, or with monetary donations.

If your company wants to participate in the project, contact us by email at aziende@emergency.it.