For decades, governments and international aid organizations have focused on eliminating epidemic diseases. This reality has rendered non-communicable disease care such as chemotherapy difficult to access and expensive in sub-Saharan Africa. Pioneering the movement to address this need, Partners In Health partnered with MASS Design Group to build East Africa's first ambulatory cancer center. Located adjacent to the critically acclaimed Butaro Hospital and Butaro Doctors' Housing projects, the center serves as the third phase in the build-out of Butaro as a global model of community-integrated, holistic healthcare. Intravenous chemotherapy is administered to patients in an outpatient setting, protecting cancer patients with weakened immune systems by limiting exposure to admitted patients in the nearby hospital.
The chemotherapy space's patient-centric design includes infusion chairs arranged radially around central pods, easing physician access. Furniture was designed to be comfortable for patients receiving long hours of chemotherapy, and includes ample seating for family members and patient attendants.
The arrangement allows each patient access to the exterior through an operable pivot door facade, bringing the beautiful landscape directly into the infusion room. A ventilation system completed in partnership with Big Ass Fans, including strategically located UVGI lights, maximizes natural air flows and neutralizes 99% of harmful pathogens. Exterior hallways and waiting rooms minimize infection caused by airborne pathogens. Views of the Virguna Mountain range, visible from all parts of the facility, contribute to a healing environment.
All of MASS's projects strive to think beyond the building, ensuring we work within communities to improve lives through architecture by employing local labor, innovating in local craft and design strategies, and conducting on-site job training in construction practices. The Cancer Center created jobs for 569 people, 30% of them women.