How a maternity waiting village in Africa could save hundreds of lives

Updated: Apr 8



BY: JESSICA BEUKER

The Maternity Waiting Village at the Kasungu District Hospital in central Malawi is not your typical hospital. Instead, it emulates the communal spaces of traditional African villages.

According to Quartz, maternity waiting homes have been promoted for decades as a solution to bridging the gap between urban and rural healthcare access.


@MASS Design Group

Every single day in 2015, 830 women died due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

There’s a courtyard with a space for gardening, a shared kitchen where anyone can cook, and a laundry area under the shade of a roof that also collects rainwater. According to Quartz, the goal of the design is to attract expectant mothers from remote areas to the facility before they give birth.


The model, which is made up of small units – that are made locally – is designed to be easily replicated. This way hospitals and governments can build and expand the villages as resources allow.



@MASS Design Group

Because hospitals are too far and commuting is too expensive, women in African countries too often are forced to give birth at home, where they do not receive the type of medical attention and care they need.

Africa has extremely high maternal mortality rates. The continent accounted for a staggering 550 of 830 daily deaths across the globe last year, according to WHO. Every single day in 2015, 830 women died due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. While 550 occurred in Africa, 180 occurred in Southern Asia, compared to only five in developed countries.


According to Quartz, the goal of the design is to attract expectant mothers from remote areas to the facility before they give birth.


@MASS Design Group

The village was completed last October. Expectant mothers who are at high risk of health complications are advised to stay at the village for two to four weeks before moving to the hospital to give birth. Women who live in far-away, rural areas are asked to come early so that doctors can identify and monitor any complications or health problems early. Up to 45 women can be housed in the village at a time.

According to Quartz, maternity waiting homes have been promoted for decades as a solution to bridging the gap between urban and rural healthcare access. The model, which is made up of small units – that are made locally – is designed to be easily replicated. This way hospitals and governments can build and expand the villages as resources allow.


Image sources: massdesigngroup.org




  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Pinterest Icon
  • White Instagram Icon

© 2018 by ArchStudio3D