Incepted as a corporate social responsibility programme and jointly funded by Ordre de Malte and SCB (Société d’étude et de Développement de la culture Bananière), the idea was to give back to the community by creating jobs while also facilitating the provision of healthcare. At the same time, the two organisations provided support for the government’s decentralisation policy for socioeconomic infrastructure, which includes healthcare.

According to a SCB spokesperson, the job-creation imperative made the Hydraform Building System the obvious choice. For this hospital in the Agnéby-Tiassa region of Côte d’Ivoire, the organisations were looking at a product that would use local labour, provide skills development and use local materials as far as possible, all without compromising quality or aesthetics. It helped that the Hydraform system had been used by others in the region and was already “tried-and-tested”, so to speak.

Crucially, tests have proven that the thermal properties of the Hydraform interlocking block are actually three times better than that of conventional concrete blocks. Furthermore, the rapid pace at which construction could be completed using the system also weighed in favour of the Hydraform system.

Perhaps most interesting is the energy efficiency of the finished building. Thanks to a small airflow gap between the roof and the structure, a fresh breeze blows constantly between the roof and ceiling. This, together with the superior thermal properties of Hydraform blocks, means that a single air conditioner is sufficient to cool down each building.