Solar-powered surgical facility constructed in Uganda

A surgical facility in rural Uganda will make use of solar panels as it aims to be self-sustainable.

The Mount Sinai Kyabirwa Surgical Facility was designed by Kliment Halsband Architects.

Locally sourced materials were used in the construction phase by local builders. Red clay was dug up from sites near the building and fired to create bricks and cladding for the medical facility, a decision that also helped support the local economy.

"Surgical treatments are essential to building healthy communities worldwide," said Kliment Halsband Architects.

"This model is built around developing an independent, self-sustaining facility capable of providing surgical treatments in resource-poor areas."

This model is built around developing an independent, self-sustaining facility capable of providing surgical treatments in resource-poor areas.

For the shape of the building, which is shaded by a canopy of solar panels, Kliment Halsband were inspired by the banana plants that grow in the area.

"We thought of solar panels as leaves of banana plants gathering sun and providing shade," said the studio. The solar array shelters and powers the simple modular brick facility beneath."

Power is provided by a hybrid battery storage system and onsite generator. If the main power supply fails, the facility can run off energy stored from the solar panels for up to two days.

Twenty miles of fibreoptic cable was installed underground to provide the facility with a reliable internet connection. This also means that surgeons from the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York can help their counterparts in Uganda with live surgical consultations and video conference call in to operations in real time.

Universal free healthcare was introduced in Uganda in 2001, but the country has still found it difficult to provide this in the more rural areas.

Renzo Piano is building a children’s hospital on the banks of Lake Victoria, and HKS Architects and Engineers for Overseas Development have also built a sustainable maternity unit in a remote area for Ugandan mothers and their families.

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