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5 February 2021

A legacy that saves lives in the fight against HIV

The Ross Langdon Health Education Centre continues to provide HIV education, testing and critical treatment to communities in South-Western Uganda.

The Ross Langdon Health Education Centre opened in Mannya, South-Western Uganda on December 1, 2015 (World Aids Day). The first of its kind in the region, the centre provides education, testing and critical treatment in the ongoing fight against HIV. Named after the late Australian architect, it was one of Langdon’s last near-completed designs. The Cotton On Foundation funded the development to bring Langdon’s vision to life and celebrate his legacy.

Changing the stats on HIV

East and Southern Africa were devastated by the HIV epidemic, with many of the generational effects still evident today. In the early 90s, Uganda had the highest global HIV prevalence at the time. The nation has since recorded the greatest decrease in HIV related deaths and its strategies have been adapted by many neighbouring communities. This can be largely credited to a rigorous sex education strategy that targeted sexual behaviour change, similar to risk-reduction initiatives at the Ross Langdon Health Education Centre.

Since 2015, the centre has provided over 35,200 HIV tests. Resulting in a dramatic decline in HIV prevalence in the community, dropping from 9% to 3.9%. The centre provides critical health and education services to Mannyan residents and surrounding communities — including counseling, pediatric care, sex education, and broader health forums and vaccinations.

A powerful legacy

Ross Langdon was an Australian Architect who envisioned and designed a small community centre that would later become the Ross Langdon Health Education Centre. Devastatingly, Langdon and his fiancé lost their lives in the 2013 Nairobi Westgate mall attacks. Following Langdon’s death, the Cotton On Foundation partnered with Studio FH Architects to complete the design — staying true to the architect's vision.

Langdon’s passion for the centre was driven by community, and tailored to the location, climate and functionality. Using local materials such as eucalyptus and clay, he designed the building with no windows, and instead curated filters of light through purposeful gaps and skylights.

The Ross Langdon Health Education Centre aims to honour Langdon’s legacy and vision, turning tragedy into a hopeful future, and supporting communities in South-Western Uganda in the fight against HIV.