Continued confidence in DR Congo hospital project after successful collaboration

Since September 2016, White has been working on a preliminary study for a new mother and child unit at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, near the Rwanda border in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The hospital is run by human rights defender, Nobel Peace Prize candidate and 2014 Sakharov Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege.

During a trip to Oslo, the completed preliminary study was presented to Dr. Mukwege by architects Cristiana Caira and Saga Karlsson from White together with Professor Marie Berg from Gothenburg University and Andreas Berg from WSP, the engineering consultancy.

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– The response from Dr. Mukwege and the Mukwege Foundation representatives was very positive. We were asked to manage the project’s next stage as well as the implementation, in collaboration with local architects, once the project gets funding. Now the Panzi Hospital is launching a funding campaign, which includes a major donor conference in Bukavu with international actors at the end of May, says architect Cristiana Caira.

The preliminary study has been carried out by White in collaboration with the Panzi Hospital, University of Gothenburg, WSP, Art of Life and Birth and the Center for Healthcare Architecture at Chalmers University of Technology. The goal is to build a centre where women can give birth together with close relatives in a safe and professional environment. The unit will solve the overcrowding in the existing hospital and offer maternity and neonatal care based on a scientific, patient-centred holistic care philosophy. The unit is designed according to the principles of healing architecture.

Goal 5 in the UN’s Millennium Development Goals is to reduce global maternal mortality by three quarters. Dr. Mukwege’s vision for the Panzi Hospital project is to create a model for maternal and neonatal care for other hospitals in similar contexts in the DRC, Africa and the world.

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