MSF in Burundi, accident victims get free treatment in Bujumbura

MSF’s work in Burundi began many years ago, and by now the presence of Doctors Without Borders is an integral part of the system of care for citizens not only in Bujumbura, the country’s economic capital

To cope with the influx of patients, MSF decided in June 2019 to decentralize simpler trauma cases to other partner facilities.

Today, in Bujumbura, two health centers (Buterere II and Ngagara) and two hospitals (Kamenge and Bwiza-Jabe) take care of these simple cases, with MSF reimbursing costs related to treatment, training staff, and providing inputs to these facilities.

MSF in Burundi, a priority: breaking down financial barriers

In the commune of Bwiza, Nicole Niyoyankunze faces a crowd of carpenters this morning.

Armed with her megaphone, this MSF health promoter tells them how and when to reach the Bwiza-Jabe hospital, and explains the policy of covering costs.

This is valuable information for these workers, who are highly exposed to accidents at work.

“In the facilities, we manage or support, our patients do not have to pay for the costs of their treatment,” he explains.

“‘This is an important advantage because financial costs can be a real barrier to treatment.

A fortnight ago, Abdoul Karim was violently struck by a car while crossing the road.

He was taken to Kigobe Arc, had surgery on his arm, and is still recovering from his injuries.

“When I woke up at the Arc that day, I didn’t know where I was or how I got there,” he says.

“Then I started having flashes. I remembered that car coming at me at high speed…”

If memories of the accident remain vague, one thing is clear in Abdoul Karim’s mind: if he had paid for his treatment, he would never have been cured.

“I was very lucky to be brought here,” he says.

“The doctors operated on me and took care of me as if I had to give them money.

I am just a fisherman, where would I have found the means to pay for all this? ”

In the Kigobe Arch center (Burundi) MSF offers 68 beds

Kigobe Arch’s 68 beds are always occupied, and its staff, 240 Burundian employees and a dozen expatriates, are never short of work.

In addition to emergency and orthopedic surgery, the center provides physiotherapy and psychosocial support, enabling patients to recover optimally from their physical and psychological injuries.

The sound of laughter and applause can be heard further down the corridor. In a rehabilitation room, seven-year-old Amina is having her first rehabilitation session after spending a month in a cast on her left leg following a double fracture.

Beside her, her father smiles broadly. Like the physiotherapist, he is happy to see his daughter learning to walk again.

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