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Design of Paediatric Oncology Facilities in Nairobi
Over time, the design of health facilities has evolved to become more specialized putting to consideration factors such as the age and ailment of the patients. This study will focus on a spacial need created by such specialization, child cancer hospitals.

Bob Leonard, an oncologist at the St. Jude Children Research Hospital, in his address says, “In the National Health Service we call our buildings functional. But they are not, really. We’ve lost a lot. What we do in our homes and gardens is very important. Why shouldn’t care centres be like that for cancer patients?”.

This study seeks to establish how the architectural design of cancer centres can be customized to make it more friendly and bearable to the ailing child. Several design parameters will be put on the scale and measured against their need and efficiency with which they improve the treatment and healing process. These are: Lighting and Acoustics, Spatial Definition or Privacy, Infection Control, Furnishing or Ergonomics, Surfaces or Material Usage, Interaction between the spaces and users, Movement, Accessibility and Exercise, Sense of Control, Familiarity, Contact with Nature and Positive Distraction.

This study outlines the findings from two cases. The criteria used in choosing them is based on the need to illustrate what is available in Nairobi vis a vis what is happening in the developed world as pertains the design of child cancer centres. The international case chosen
is the Princess Maxima Centre for Paediatric Oncology in Netherlands which acted as the basemap against which the local case was compared. The local case chosen in the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya which has one of the most advanced healthcare system for all cancer patients in Kenya. The two cases were then analysed putting to consideration the design parameters mentioned earlier. The application and success or otherwise of the said parameters was then investigated and documented.

The findings reveal that before the commencement of the design process of child cancer hospitals, it is important to first understand the needs of the patients as children and not treating them like small adults. Architectural design that puts to consideration the parameters listed above in totality will most definitely create spaces that will aid in both the treatment and healing of ailing children. The comfort of the staff and visitors during this period is also very important hence the findings suggest ways in which these two groups can be made more productive through architectural design.