Mobile healthcare architecture in Africa: an analysis and design guide
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Healthcare in Africa has changed over the years. The people and organizations that are responsible for Africa's recent developments range from large organizations like international communities, multinational companies and governments in Africa to smaller groups like the medical community, strong volunteering organizations and each individual's commitment to their community. In our portable, decentralized and global environment, we as architects, from across the planet, have a responsibility to the world community. The nomadic and rural population in Africa has priorities that are different from the rest of the world. The priorities in Africa do not lie in the sophistication seen in regular healthcare architecture, medical equipment and examinations. It is the accessibility to basic healthcare, awareness in the community, making the primary healthcare socially and culturally acceptable, encouraging community participation and catering to as many communities as possible across the continent; across each country. The problem lies in basic healthcare available to people in Africa who live in areas that are difficult to access, including the nomadic communities. The simple solution is to use Africa's rich resources for materials and construction as well as the large army of voluntary labor that is available. However the final product with the healthcare facilities needs to be taken to these people (in opposition to the people traveling long distances to these clinics) or the purpose will not be served. The options are numerous and so is the scope of such mobile structures. The design guide helps the architect with his pre-design research. It takes into consideration the requirements of this project and gives the architect an insight into four generic mobile systems. Each one of these systems has their own list of pros and cons, which the architect needs to prioritize and choose. Some examples of such combined prototypes conclude the design guide.