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Roche Health Center


Village Life Outreach Project, Inc, is a Cincinnati-based non-profit organization that has worked with villages in the Rorya District of northern Tanzania since 2004. What started as a primarily a medical service trip has now expanded to include projects involving faculty and students from the fields of medicine, nursing, engineers, design, and others. The mission of Village Life is to unite communities in Tanzania and the US to promote life, health and education. Through partnerships and sustainable projects including water filtration, malaria prevention, and education sponsorship, Village Life is making a difference in the lives of thousands of Tanzanians—and bringing lessons learned in Africa back home to the Cincinnati community.

Tanzania has one of the lowest ratios of doctors in the world (1 doctor for every 50,000 people). In the Rorya District, many villagers have to walk 4-6 hours to reach a health care facility. In 2008, Village Life began working with the University of Cincinnati School of Architecture and Interior Design Assistant Professor Michael Zaretsky to develop a proposal for a permanent health care facility in this region.

The Roche Health Center is the result of a collaboration of Village Life; our local partners in Tanzania, the Shirati Health, Education and Development Foundation; the University of Cincinnati; and the Roche Village Community. The project has been funded by local and national sponsors as well as individual donors through Village Life.

The project follows extensive research in the US and Tanzania into the development of a building construction that will utilize all locally available materials and incorporate and enhance local construction techniques. These buildings are designed to resist serious earthquakes and to address all other local environmental conditions. There is no electricity in the region, so lighting, heating and cooling are all designed to occur without active power.

The first building, the outpatient clinic, is complete following tremendous work by our on-site project directors and the Roche Village construction crew. The Tanzanian District Government is considering this project as a potential model for future rural healthcare in Tanzania.


Roche Village


Project Details

NAME: Roche Health Center
PROJECT LEAD: Michael Zaretsky
LOCATION: Roche Village, Tanzania
START DATE: May 31, 2008
CURRENT PHASE: Design development
COST: $65000 USD (Estimated)
SIZE: 2500 sq. ft
PROJECT TYPE: Health Clinic
DESIGN TEAM: Richard Elliott and Emily Roush
CONTRACTOR(S): Julius Alois
SPONSORING ORGANIZATION: Village Life Outreach Project
BENEFICIARIES: This Health Center will provide heath care to over 20,000 villagers who presently have no access to healthcare.