A rich tropical garden surrounds much of Lake Victoria, in central Africa. Around the lake, it’s a continuous succession of large woodlands and steppes that come to an end at this immense stretch of fresh, clear water, the main source of survival for the millions of people living near the shores.
About 35 kilometres from Kampala, the capital of Uganda, a new small tree, planted by Gino Strada and Renzo Piano together with the Ugandan president Museveni, arrived last Friday. The founder of Emergency and the famous architect met in Entebbe in order to inaugurate the start of activities for the Centre of excellence in paediatric surgery, a project which is special for many reasons: because it will offer the highest level of care to young patients from Uganda and all of Africa, because it will do it at no cost and because it is located in a place where the infant mortality rate is still very high.
The hospital will have 3 operating rooms and 78 beds. It will be built in rammed earth, a traditional construction technique that uses raw earth, ensuring a thermal inertia that will maintain constant temperatures and humidity in the building.
Special attention will be paid to environmental aspects: “Enel Green Power will supply 2,600 thin-film photovoltaic modules for a total of 289.24 KWp”, explains Sonia Sandei, Head of Distributed Sales Generation for EGP, who took part in the 10 February event. “Our photovoltaic roof is perfectly integrated into Renzo Piano’s architectural project and will be able to ensure complete energy self-sufficiency for the hospital”.
The construction of this structure brings together Emergency’s paediatric surgical excellence and the all-Italian excellence in the field of technology, energy and sustainability. The hospital will also be a training centre for young doctors and nurses coming from all of Africa. “Similarly, Enel Green Power is also committed to training members of local communities who will then be able to take care of the maintenance of the photovoltaic modules installed on the building’s roof as well as new photovoltaic installations throughout the country”.
In addition to Enel Green Power, there are many other Italian companies that took part in the project in Entebbe, where they were able to bring the beautiful and goodness of the Made in Italy brand. The Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni and the Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng, also participated in the foundation-laying ceremony. “During his speech, the president emphasised the importance of this structure, which represents the only paediatric surgical hospital in all of Africa”, adds Sonia Sandei. “Here, children will be treated and undergo operations completely for free. This will be possible thanks to the great commitment of Emergency, which raised the necessary funds. The president wanted to personally shake hands with all the donors involved”.
The Ugandan Government decided to actively participate in the project, donating the plot of land where the surgical Centre will be built, while the Renzo Piano Building Workshop designed the hospital in collaboration with Tamassociati, with structural design by Milan Ingegneria and plant design by Prisma Engineering.
“This hospital will be a model for medical excellence, environmental sustainability, energy independence and harmonious distribution of space”, said Renzo Piano. “The vegetation will be the horizon for its young patients, the trees like a metaphor for the healing process”.