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 2015 International Activity Report:

MSF started working in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, in April 2015 when violence increased in the run-up to elections.

Between May and July, MSF supported health posts near where demonstrations took place, enabling 120 patients to access free care in public facilities. MSF also trained the medical staff at Prince Rwagasore hospital in Bujumbura in the treatment of trauma victims, and donated medicines and medical supplies.

MSF has been running a 43-bed trauma centre in Arche hospital in Kigobe, in the north of the city, since July. The centre has an emergency room, two operating theatres and an intensive care unit. Teams provide free medical care to victims of violence, and by the end of the year had treated 693 patients, 417 of whom required hospitalisation.

Due to the upsurge in violence, tens of thousands of Burundians fled over the border to neighboring Tanzania.

Handing Over the Malaria Project in Kirundo

In January 2015, the handover of the Kirundo malaria project to the Ministry of Health was finalized with the transfer of the Mukenke district program. The project had focused on reducing severe malaria-related mortality, and as the use of injectable artesunate is now integrated into the country’s malaria treatment policy, MSF’s presence is no longer required. This treatment is shorter and more effective than quinine, and there are fewer side effects.

Obstetric Fistula in Gitega

Five years after its launch, management of the Urumuri obstetric fistula centre was officially handed over to Gitega regional hospital in August 2015. Fistula is a frequent consequence of birth complications in Burundi, and causes not only pain but also urinary and even faecal incontinence. This in turn often leads to social exclusion and sometimes rejection by friends and family.

Since 2010, MSF has treated nearly 1,800 women for fistula at the Urumuri centre and the majority have made a full recovery.

At the end of 2015, MSF had 118 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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