Haiti suffers from the highest prevalence of tuberculosis in the Western Hemisphere. The earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince in 2010 exacerbated these conditions by destroying the country’s health infrastructure and interrupting patient treatments, precipitating an outbreakof Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
MDR-TB is an especially challenging disease to cure. It is highly contagious, and treatment often lasts up to 24 months. Patients remain infectious for the first 2-6 months of their treatment regimen, during which time they need to be hospitalized in isolation to prevent the spread of thedisease. Both infection control and patient trauma—from extended seclusion and because of the severe side effects of medication (which can include blindness, deafness, and emotional instability)—were driving factors in the design.
The hospital’s central feature is its interior courtyard, where patients spend much of their stay. Flower and tree beds bring color, shade, and seating to the space. A small fish pond provides a tranquil place to think and rest beneath the shade. Several covered common spaces open onto this courtyard, for individual and group leisure activities. Bamboo screens create visual privacy for the outdoor consultation spaces that line patient rooms. In time, bougainvillea vines will climb over these screens and replace the bamboo with additional greenery.
Crowning the central opening is the hospital’s distinct woven metal cornice, in panels painted several shades of green. The slanted roof captures cross-breezes, and this circulation effectively cools down rooms below from the sun’s heat.
GHESKIO TB Hospital’s infection control approach includes passive ventilation strategies like permeable soffits and metal louvres that pull fresh air through the units. It has exterior corridors and consultation patios that diminish risk for healthcare workers and staff by decreasing exposure to airborn TB bacteria.
To build capacity within the community, the project uses local labor and leverages opportunities for training in safe, high quality construction practices.