Needs assessment in Ghana


2019; David Smith (Principle), Alan Bugg, Junshan Luises, Scott Kramer; Needs assessment of Effia-Nkwanta Ragional Hospital (ENRH) in Ghana;
CACD Seed Grant ($5000)

2019; Alan Bugg (Principle), David Smith, Junshan Luises, Scott Kramer; Design sustainable renovation and user experience within the ENRH;
McWhorter Fund for Excelence ($7500)


Project partners include Auburn University Building Science faculty Alan Bugg, Scott Kramer, Junshan Lui; Project coordination by Elizabeth Quansah, Director of Auburn University Global Outreach.

Moldy ceiling

The needs assessment revealed very poor conditions at the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital (ENRH) such as mold in the ceilings. Problems like this can quickly escalate in scope.

Patient notice taped to wall.

ENRH had no sustainable signage system to visually identify areas or communicate effectively with patients and visitors to the hospital.

Visitor notice taped to wall.

Interior signage that is permanently fixed or with an component system for editing would be a great improvement for ENRH.

Auburn design team meeting with Ghana government  official.

Auburn team meeting with Sekondi-Takoradi Mayor K. K. Sam to find a suitable alternative to the ENRH as a target project

Ground breaking for new community park.

A community park was being planned on a vacant plot of land—a very appropriate alternative project. Amazingly, the ground breaking ceremony was planned for that very day.

Design team with local school children.

Students from various nearby schools were also stakeholders in the park project, participating in visioning what the park has to offer.

The Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital (ENRH) is located in the Western region of the African nation of Ghana. It serves as the main referral center for all medical conditions that require specialist attention in the area.  However, due to lack of funds and maintenance, the ENRH is in very poor condition.

In collaboration with Building Science, a multi-phased facility improvement project was proposed for ENRH. In order to execute the project, Building Science would be responsible for the site survey, design, repair and renovation of the selected areas in the building. Graphic Design would be responsible for researching and designing signage and/or graphics to further improve patient experience within those areas of the facility.

An onsite needs assessment of the ENRH was documented by LiDAR, UAV aerial photography and conventional photography. After inspection of the site condition, it was determined that any construction work at the facility would soon grow well beyond the scope of our ability to complete the project. This opened a strong possibility of leaving the facility in worse shape and usability than how we found it.

Working closely with the Sekondi-Takoradi mayor, a suitable project substitution for the hospital was found. The best choice the research team could make utilizing the same methodologies was for a community park project in it’s initial planning stages. The same needs assessment and documentation process was applied to the park, fulfilling the Phase 1 objectives of the project.


Two very unfortunate events occurred preventing the second phase of this project. First, Covid-19 halted all international travel. Second, the untimely death of Sekondi-Takoradi Mayor K. K. Sam terminated the park project. However, we were able to turn the remaining grant funds toward another project. This new work is scheduled for Summer of 2021.


Auburn University
207 Wallace Hall, Auburn, AL 36849
David Smith
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design