In July 2015, Professor Chanam Lee and at team of three Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning (LAUP) students (Sinan Zhong, Tianchi Chen, and Sungmin Lee) traveled to Kenya to visit future site of Ubrica One project. Ubrica One is a biomedical industrial city proposed by Ustawi Biomedical Research Innovation and Industrial Centers of Africa (UBRICA), as a source of economic force to transform Kenya into a bio-medical industrial giant by 2030. By so doing, Ubrica One will create a fresh landscape of life science and health care in Africa by introducing a novel model of global health that recognizes that economic development is by far the greatest cause of improvements in health.
Ubrica is a life science/health care company (LSHC) that was created to sponsor investments in life science comprising pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and health care comprising clinics and hospitals in the frontier market. In addition, Ubrica sponsors investments in specialized real estate for life science and health care. The primary focus is African countries with Kenya as a starting point. Ubrica sponsors its investment programs through three distinct business units (a) Ubrica Pharma, creating for Africa, a pharmaceutical drugs testing laboratory known as the bioequivalence lab (“bioequivalence”), and manufacture of pharmaceutical generic drugs in African countries (“manufacture”); (b) Ubrica Health Services, franchising retail clinical centers and hospitals, and (c) Ubrica One, a scientific real estate for biomedical industrial development for sub-Saharan Africa.
The LAUP team led by Prof. Chanam Lee was charged with design of Ubrica One. The mission of the all-inclusive master planned development of the UBRICA ONE biomedical industrial city is to promote a self-sustaining One Health Community anchored by world-class health care services and high-tech research and development centers with cutting edge technologies in biomedicine on a 4,330-acre property in the Rift Valley of Kenya.
The plan proposed optimal spatial arrangements of diverse land uses including (a) a medical campus with five ultramodern academic specialty medical centers, (b) a research center for advanced science in biomedicine, (c) a biomedical industrial park for the high-powered biotechnology in biomedical translation and innovation, (d) a residential community with diverse and mixed housing options and a Metro Center for high-density mixed-use development, and (e) a recreational district with a state-of-the-art sports complex supported by multimodal transportation systems and extensive green infrastructure, and responding to the local history, culture, and landscape.
Professor Lee also involved the fall class of the Masters of Landscape Architecture (MLA) in the design of Ubrica One. Four MLA teams each comprising four students completed final development of the master plan alternatives on December 4, 2015. The master plan of the City was developed under the four main overarching guiding principles: (a) healthy living for all – HUMAN; (b) biological diversity and ecological integrity – ANIMAL; (c) sustainable and low-impact development – ENVIRONMENT; (d) economic and cultural development – ECONOMY.
Ultimately, Ubrica One is planned and designed to meet the full range of healthcare needs, including curative and preventive cares, of those residing and working in the Bio-Med City as well as those visiting the for medical tourism, health tourism and other purposes.
During the Spring Semester in 2016, Professor Chanam Lee, will join forces with Professor George Mann, and Dr. Zhipeng Lu, to design Ubrica’s Retail Clinical Centers (URCCs). Ubrica Health Services intends to enter into Kenyan health care market with a network of retail clinical centers distributed throughout the country in a franchise model. Ubrica Health Services will manage the URCCs under the stewardship of Virginia Warura Njoroge, RN, MS, CNML (USA), and Juliet Mungai-Kimani, Pharmacy (UK). The goal of the franchised clinics is to provide access to primary care and preventive services in Africa. Students and faculty at the College of Architecture, Texas A&M University will work in a combined studio involving Architecture for Health, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, to develop the design of the URCC franchise units.
UBRICA proposes to rollout the URCCs in the third quarter of 2016 in a franchise model being developed by teams of experts at the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT), and the Center for Health Systems and Design (CHSD).
The CHOT, a multi-university organization headquartered at the School of Public Health in the Texas A&M University’s Health Science Center, is advising UBRICA on the strategic aspects of the franchise in Kenya. Bita Kash, PhD, and Frederick Nafukho, PhD, are working closely as co-principal investigators of the strategic design of the URCCs.
The CHSD, a multi-university, multidisciplinary health care design center headquartered at Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture, is advising on the design of the URCC units. Each URCC unit will comprise a retail space for grocery and convenience shopping, a clinical space, a patient education space, a pharmacy space, and a clinical laboratory space.
The clinics contain a strong retail component that can cater to the grocery and produce shoppers. The grocery and produce shopping will power the economic engine of the retail clinical center, by working to attract shoppers, who in turn become clients for health, wellness and clinical services.
All primary care clinical centers will carry space for basic ambulatory clinical capability. These include a clinical examination room, a dispensing pharmacy, and a clinical diagnostic laboratory. In addition, all clinics will be designed to carry clinical trial research work, in support of central bio-equivalence laboratory in Nairobi.
Ubrica Health Services intends to roll-out three models of retail clinical centers.
Model 1. Primary Care Retail Clinical Center—this model is a basic community health center with added space for collection of specimens for samples for clinical trials and for bio-equivalence testing. Model 1 retail clinical center will be distributed widely throughout the country, all the way down to the village level.
Model 2. Secondary Care Retail Clinical Center—This model contains 20 inpatient beds in addition to the basic services in Model 1. A section of the inpatient bed space will serve the bio-equivalence program. For this purpose, approximately 10 beds will be set aside to cater to clients coming for specimen draw for bio-equivalence testing. The remainder of the inpatient bed space will be used for short term in patient care for maternity services, simple surgeries such as hernia repair, etc. This indicates that Model 2 will have a small operating room, and has features of a secondary community health center.
Model 3. Tertiary Retail Clinical Center—This model will also contain a full-scale bio-equivalence laboratory, in addition to all the features of Model 2. The bio-equivalence laboratory is a testing center for effectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs.
Ubrica’s pharmaceutical division, UBRICA Pharma Limited, headed by Harriet Kamendi, Ph.D., intends to implement a bioequivalence laboratory by January 2017, followed by generic drug development by January 2018. Alongside this initiative UBRICA will also set up pharmaceutical research and development.
UBRICA Pharma will occupy a niche market in the pharmaceutical industry in Kenya, to address the unmet need of bioequivalence laboratory and generic drug development
Ubrica Pharma will lay the groundwork for pharmaceutical research and development in Kenya. UBRICA proposes industry-university collaboration in the implementation of the bioequivalence lab and Generic drug manufacturing with UBRICA as the industry partner, and Kenyatta University as the university partner.
In this partnership, UBRICA and Kenyatta University the bioequivalence laboratory and manufacturing plant will be located at the Kenyatta University Campus located along Thika Highway. The proposed partnership will immensely benefit both Ubrica and Kenyatta University, as the two organizations join forces to transform the pharmaceutical landscape in Africa by providing the much needed pharmaceutical services to citizens of Kenya and Africa.