Lifestyle shifts in society are also creating trend adjustment in healthcare, influencing modern designs and finishes as well as medical infrastructure. In the public sector, construction of most hospitals was in the 80s, through to 2000.
Since devolution, however, quite a chunk of new health facilities have been built across public and private scenes. According to the Kenya Medical Practitioners Council, the distribution of medical facilities is as follows: 3,046 Level Two, 2,305 Level Three, 320 Level Four, 47 Level Five, four at Level Six. The Pharmacy and Poisons Board does not have similar data, but conservative estimates would be about 15,000 or thereabout pharmacies.
Though architectural style for the public side was formerly under the national government control, with devolution, an attempt to have modernistic designs is noted. A younger generation of architects and interior designers are pushing the narrative of style in health infrastructure.
Robinson Manguro, a hospital design architect, says patients as well as staff movements, comfort of those under care, the ambience of the recovery environment and infection control are top concerns for him when looking at a hospital design.
Features like beautiful tiles, modern washrooms, exquisite floor finishing’s and aesthetics in-patient rooms, especially in private hospitals are taking root due to intense competition. For interior designers, visual aesthetics are the first marketing point for hospitals given patient experience is a big influence on repeat visits.
Additionally, franchises having multiple outlets need to have consistency across all premises. This avoids different experience for clients. Once drab pharmacies with wooden furniture have are now fitted with attractive aluminium and glass displays. The latter are in vogue as they allow for quick partitions and easy visibility of medicines on sale as well. They are also portable once the tenancy ends or if relocating.
Space constraints also come up quite often, given many premises begin from a small room gradually growing to occupy the entire building.
Lifts and mobility convenience assistance are now desirable in place of winding ramps that occupy more space. For the same area as a tenth of a ramp, a lift will serve patients, staff and visitors. Their costs are, however, high as well as maintenance, given the high volume of users. A hospital like Kenyatta National Hospital has close to 10,000 visitors daily and many end up using the lifts. Considering two movements per visitor and close to six for staff on a day, balancing the operational costs vis-a-vis the convenience is the economic quagmire.
Infection prevention guidelines are also now coming into effect, necessitating incorporating features like stainless steel finishes, fomite furniture and floors that minimise the growth of micro-organism.
Likewise, laboratories and theatres are evolving to now include intelligent lighting, airflow control, access limitation design, sealing chambers and cross-contamination avoidance. Similarly, features like air seals, pressure chambers, extraction hoods will become a norm.
Source: Business Daily