Why are we there?

  • Armed conflict
  • Endemic/epidemic disease
  • Social violence/health care exclusion
  • Natural disaster

MSF has been working in Burundi for more than 20 years and intensified its activities in Bujumbura when pre-electoral tensions began to mount in May 2015. MSF services are free and available to anyone who meets the admission criteria, including those who have experienced violent trauma. Since the MSF center opened on July 1, 210 wounded patients have received care, 205 of whom required surgery.

MSF is one of the only international organizations treating wounded patients and trauma-related medical emergencies in the capital. MSF’s trauma center currently has a capacity of 43 beds and comprises an emergency room, two operating rooms, and an intensive care unit. The trauma center will soon be scaled up to an 86-bed capacity

MSF has also been responding to the mass influx of Burundian refugees in Tanzania since May 2015. Currently, there are around 130,000 refugees in Tanzania, with between 200 and 250 refugees continuing to cross the border each day. MSF is working in Nyaragusu, Nduta, and Mtendeli camps providing medical care, mental health support, and water and sanitation assistance.

Burundi: Latest MSF Updates

Our Work

This is an excerpt from MSF's 2014 International Activity Report:

The use of injectable artesunate for severe malaria is now well integrated into the Burundian Ministry of Health’s malaria treatment policy.

As a consequence, the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) program focusing on reducing severe malaria-related mortality is being gradually handed over to the Ministry of Health. In July 2014, the Kirundo malaria project, which was supporting 34 clinics with diagnosis and treatment, was handed over and the project in Mukenke district is due to follow suit in early 2015. Injectable artesunate is easy to administer and the treatment is shorter and more effective than quinine, with fewer side effects.

Providing Fistula Care

An MSF team continued to provide obstetric fistula treatment at Urumuri health center in Gitega, alongside health promotion, staff training, and case-finding activities. MSF offers reconstructive surgery, physiotherapy, and psychosocial support, and runs a hotline for those seeking help. Fistulas, a consequence of birth complications, cause not only pain but incontinence, which in turn often leads to social exclusion and sometimes rejection by family and friends.

The number of new obstetric fistula cases has declined over the last few years, as much of the backlog that existed in the country when the project opened in 2010 has now been cleared. The project will be handed over to the Ministry of Health at the end of September 2015. The remaining cases will be managed by the Ministry of Health, as MSF has trained three Burundian doctors in fistula surgery.

At the end of 2014, MSF had 122 staff in Burundi. MSF has been working in the country since 1992.

Patient Story

Séverine, an obstetric fistula patient

The MSF team welcomed me to the women’s village. I feel good here; we dance together often. All the women here suffer from the same thing, and that helps us cope. I’m having the surgery in a week. I hope it will go well; I’m confident it will.

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