Labour ward in Northern Uganda - A locally rooted human centered approach

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Building Design
This thesis work proposes a design for a 100-births per month labour (maternity) ward in the North of Uganda, a low-resource setting challenged by socio-economic and political instability, deteriorated health infrastructure, lack of staff and resources, low accessibility to health services and erosion of medical ethics. The proposal is an addition to an existing medical centre located in Kitgum, Uganda. The region is seeing a rapid growth in population and in need of Maternal and Child Health Facilities to accommodate that growth and help reduce the high maternal and neonatal mortality rates. The architectural aim of this thesis is to design a labour (maternity) ward that spatially supports the woman and the companion’s journey through the facility, from admission to discharge, with a focus on local materials and techniques. Design principles such as natural ventilation, natural light, companion flow, hygiene and privacy strategies have been explored and applied given the remarkable absence of these concepts in current facilities. The wider societal aim is to shift privacy standards of contemporary facilities towards a more personal and intimate experience, through allowing the presence of a companion in all stages of the process. The work of this thesis has been structured in an initial research phase, followed by a one-month field trip in which research methods like interviews and workshops have been applied to collect data about the current health situation as well as traditional materials and techniques, and a design phase that has started while still on site. To sum up, this work offers a building that intends to reframe women’s birthing experience and raise awareness around innovative ways to improve the quality of care while still preserving traditional techniques, skills and materials.
Sanaksenaho, Pirjo
Thesis advisor
Sandman, Helena
labour ward, maternity, low-resource settings, health facility architecture, local materials
Other note
Rantanen, Mariana
Lazaro Rantanen, Mariana