By AnnMarie Martin | Renderings courtesy of MASS Design
For Malawian expectant mothers, it’s not simply the importance of proper prenatal care, but the significance of their proximity to it that they must understand.
MASS Design has taken this mission under its
wing and developed a project that will lay the foundation for a healthier society: the Malawi Maternity
These special communities are undergoing
construction in this underdeveloped country—where
maternal mortality rates represent a major public
health challenge. The effort’s aim is to keep moms
close to a hospital or health center as their due date
approaches. They enter a temporary village home
upon reaching the final four weeks of their pregnancy
and are immediately transferred to a nearby hospital
when they go into labor. Nurses are stationed at the
villages in order to monitor guests during their stay.
The goal is to create a positive experience for
expectant mothers so they internalize a message
of proper care and don’t wait until labor to go to a
hospital—because in many cases, their villages are
too far from one. The homes mimic a typical Malawian village and promote
a sense of camaraderie among the inhabitants and family or friends who
accompanied them. MASS’s design is meant to encourage occupants to
spend most of their time outside, minimizing the risk of airborne infections.
Large covered outdoor spaces serve as training or gardening areas for the
mothers and provide sitting benches as well for them to relax and fraternize.
Sleeping units are small and accommodate five guests at the most, which
fosters friendships throughout the community. They also include built-in storage
and high ceilings to contain a large volume of air at any given time, providing
thermal comfort for mothers and promoting infection control and cross ventilation.
In late 2015, the Kasungu Maternity Village will be the first of these
communities to open. It will accommodate 36 to 45 mothers.
MALAWI MATERNIT Y
WAITINGVILLAGES BY MASS DESIGN