Within the rolling hills of Burera district in Rwanda lies a revolutionary new hospital. Dr. Peter Drobac, the driving force behind Butaro Hospital's innovative but affordable design, gives a tour of the hospital and its features.
The rolling hills of Burera district in Rwanda, a picturesque backdrop for a revolutionary new hospital. Its designers believe it proves high-quality healthcare can be provided in even the poorest countries. Before, a single doctor struggled to care for 350,000 people in this area. Now, this one hundred and fifty bed hospital has eleven of them. Dr. Peter Drobac was the driving force behind Butaro Hospital's innovative but affordable design.
DR. PETER DROBAC [Director, Partners in Health, Rwanda]
So this is the pediatrics ward. It's a typical ward here in the hospital, and it's in fact our busiest ward. And Rwanda, like a lot of other African countries, suffers from a health worker shortage. The ratio of doctors and nurses to patients is not as high as we're accustomed to in the US and in England, and as a result, it's even more important that the nurses can keep their eyes on all of the patients at all times. And so from here, the nurse can see all of the patients down on this side, and all of the patients down on the other side as well.
Infection control is a problem in all hospitals. Here, high ceilings and permanently open, louvered windows create cheap, effective ventilation.
Because heat naturally rises, the air moves up, along with the heat, and out of those non-operable windows. And that effect is accentuated by large four-meter diameter fans. Twelve times every hour, 100 percent of the air inside of this room is totally turned over and refreshed, and that's sort of the magic number to ensure that the risk of an airborne infection like tuberculosis is really minimized.
Other weapons in the fight against infection include anti-germicidal ultraviolet lights and easy to clean floors.
The floors are made of an epoxy resin material. We think it's important because this type of material is chemically resistant, it's smooth, and it's easy to sterilize. So we think that this type of flooring material is replicable and represents a big advance.
Another design innovation is this central conduit wall. Oxygen and electricity supplies for medical equipment are right beside the patients. And it allows them to look out at the wonderful views.
The large windows on this side of the ward not only allow a lot of natural light into the ward, but also for patients lying in bed, they can enjoy a really stunning view of the mountain valleys. There's actually substantial evidence that a tranquil environment that promotes a healthy state of mind actually promotes healing of the body as well.
Every aspect of the design is about serving local needs. The community gained financially because the hospital was built by them. But the fact that the hospital was built for them has been even more enriching.