LAB.OUR WARD, 2016 – 2018

The goal of the Lab.our Ward Project is to design labour ward innovations based around women's and care providers' needs and to support a safer birth experience for every woman and newborn. The project is run by M4ID (today called Scope) and initiated by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Labour ward architecture could make women feel safe and supported. It should be easy for both the woman in labour to understand the stage of labour in which they are, to understand where they will go to next and for care providers to more readily manage situations as they arise. Ideally, the woman should be able to have a companion with her during the whole delivery process. The spaces are planned to achieve a balance between safety and privacy.

The process was carried out as a collaboration between architecture, service design and product design. Helena Sandman from Ukumbi and three designers from M4ID were trying to meet the challenges with cost-effective design solutions that are easy to implement. The aim was to find solutions that can benefit also other facilities with similar challenges both in India and Africa. A prototype including some innovations was implemented in an existing maternity ward in Basta, Odisha, India in 2018.