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People sitting at Bongolo Hospital

Healthcare Design on Mission

Combining quality design with Christ-centered patient care

“I have found the Son of God! Why should I cry? Why should I worry?”


Shayla Dick

EMI architecture fellow, Shayla Dick

These words filled the waiting pavilion of Bongolo Hospital in Gabon. Sick and suffering patients waiting for their appointments sung with passion.

In the middle of a remote rainforest in Central Africa, the gospel message of hope and healing was moving forward thanks to the hard work of doctors, chaplains, the church, and the EMI design team.

The space was filled with natural light and cool breezes, and had been designed by a previous EMI design team—as were several of the other medical facilities. EMI’s partnership with Bongolo Hospital began in 2010 with a master plan.

Bongolo Hospital during a sunset
Bongolo Hospital sunset – photo by G. Ndikumagenge
Masterplan rendering
Courtesy of EMI USA

Since that time, using the initial master plan framework along with periodic revisions and updates, EMI has designed five major buildings on the campus. Twelve years later, it was clear these EMI projects have shifted the way Bongolo Hospital provides healthcare.

Yes, healthcare design brings about facilities that offer better hygiene and sanitation, safer work environments, and improved staff efficiency. Yes, planning can create patient experiences of greater care and dignity. Yes, the structure is vitally important for keeping out driving rain and withstanding earthquakes.

Yet it is also a place for healing and ministry. A place where people can sing to the glory of the Son of God and encounter the One who heals.


Dirk Anderson

EMI architect & design manager, Dirk Anderson

Healthcare systems and service delivery are key markers to economic welfare and social well-being for countries worldwide. The healthcare sector is certainly a prime component in a country’s advance toward the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

Mission hospitals like Bongolo have been positioned historically as pioneers for holistic patient care, often filling gaps within the public and private healthcare service sectors.

For many years, physicians and health workers have used mission facilities to introduce best practices and techniques with an impassioned zeal for teaching, training, and patient-centered care.

Dirk and Shayla in a meeting
Photo by R. Purnell

Through decades of projects with extraordinary ministry partners in the medical sector, EMI has established itself as a global leader in mission healthcare design.

We strive toward a balanced, quality design: Understanding the principles and practices of international healthcare design standards, we apply them appropriately within low-resource or low-technology environments.

Interior of the ward at ELWA
Ward at the ELWA Hospital in Liberia

Quality design is a catalyst for optimized patient care, stimulating societal growth, change, and progress. Quality design improves access to health services and distribution of health infrastructure. Quality design promotes confidence in healthcare providers and utilization of health services.

We are privileged to partner with leaders in Christ-centered patient care. Partnerships aligning with our vision of “people restored by God and the world restored through design.”

Two people looking over plans

Our EMI staff are mission-driven professionals who bring their design and leadership talents to see transformation in places like Bongolo Hospital and hundreds of other ministry partners around the world.

As EMI continues to grow, the need for committed long-term staff architects—especially those with interest in healthcare design—grows all the more. We are searching for people to join EMI in this mission.

Specifically, EMI is seeking a Manager of Architecture (USA), a Project Architect with a healthcare focus (USA), and a Healthcare Architect mentor (South Africa).

Initiate a discussion with EMI today!

Whether you are an architect, engineer, construction manager, or other skilled professional, we would love to talk with you about joining our staff!

And, the upcoming Exploratory Trip to Uganda is a great way to explore a cross-cultural staff assignment with EMI.

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