The son of Sunrise Rotarian Jack Harnish, Chris Harnish is an Associate Professor of Architecture in Malawi and Director of the Development of Health Centre Protypes for the Malawi Ministry of Health.
Through his PowerPoint presentation Chris explained the critical role of architecture in urban Africa, which has the fastest growing population on earth.  By 2050  urban Africa will have 2.5 Billion people and will need 700 Million housing units, 300,000 schools and 100,000 health centers.  Already in the midst of a healthcare crisis, Africa needs 7 health centers, 25 schools and 60,000 housing units built every day--"one of the greatest design challenges of the 21st century"!
While Chris described Malawi as well-respected throughout Africa, it is enjoying the calm before the storm. Even now Malawi's infrastructure is overwhelmed and its healthcare is in a state of crisis.  To address Malawi's growing needs the Health and Design Collaborative brings together Malawi's design and health professionals to address the country's public healthcare infrastructure with a new model of African development that will feature:
  • Sustainable partnerships with global professionals, local institutions and academic leaders
  • Enduring relationships rather than one-off projects
  • Strengthening of local institutions and systems.
In the Q&A that followed his presentation Chris said the future for feeding a growing population was  "a terrifying issue."  He also provided interesting tidbits about the local culture, such as the fact that families accompany a patient to a hospital, staying there and cleaning, cooking and delivering meals.