...the Butaro center, in the northern part of the country, will be the first to offer comprehensive care — including diagnosis, chemotherapy, surgery, follow-up treatment, and palliative care. — Boston Globe
MASS Design Group is partnering with the Rwandan Ministry of Health (MOH) and Partners in Health (PIH) to build the first permanent cancer treatment center in Rwanda. With the help of Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation funding inpatient facilities, the new Cancer Centre for Excellence will be the first facility of its kind to bring state of the art care to Rwanda, provide access to cancer treatments, and host robust training programs through a partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Facility-based cancer registries in Rwanda revealed a total of 3,430 diagnosed cancer cases between 2007 to 2011, among which 320 were children under the age of 15. Before this year, cancer care was sporadic, with no integrated treatments available without leaving the country. The new center will be the national referral site for cancer, providing a full spectrum of cancer care.
Rwanda has long valued developing comprehensive programs while building infrastructure. Cancer care training started with the implementation of the 1st National Baseline Cancer Training held at the Rwinkwavu Training Center in March 2012. At the same time Irenee Nshimiyimana and Gaspard Muvugabigwi, Rwandan histology specialty technicians from the Butaro Hospital, spent two months in Boston at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital learning the most current procedures for tissue sampling. They left noting that “the experience [they] have received from Brigham and Women’s Hospital Pathology Laboratory could help us in our future life while helping Rwandan people.”
The multiscalar impact that the training programs provide Rwandans is supported and amplified by MASS’s design and building approach. The firm’s first collaboration with MOH and PIH was the construction of the critically acclaimed Butaro Hospital. The cancer center employs similar design strategies as Butaro Hospital, using the building to heal by mitigating and reducing transmission of airborne disease through strategic program layout, patient and staff flow, natural ventilation, and by eliminating interior corridors.
The Cancer Centre’s construction process will also build local capacity much like its neighbor and predecessor, the Butaro Hospital. Throughout the design and building process of Butaro, MASS leveraged local resources to build stronger communities and economies; the construction process educated and employed 3,898 Rwandans in masonry, craftsmanship, construction, and management. By integrating local resources and labor into both the design and construction process, the investment into infrastructure becomes a means for individual and community empowerment.
MASS is a 501(c)(3) pending not-for-profit firm which currently operates under the fiscal sponsorship of Partners In Health. MASS designs, builds, and advocates for buildings that improve health and strengthen communities.
The Butaro Hospital won Acute Medical Care Facility of the Year by Contract Magazine, Archinect’s Top 10 Projects of the Year for the Public Good, and was a finalist for Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival, as well as for London’s Design Museum Design of the Year. MASS co-founders Michael Murphy and Alan Ricks recently accepted Contract Magazine’s Designer of the Year Award for 2012.