Key medical figures:
• 3,500 patients treated for malaria
• 380 fistula repair operations

Improved access to emergency medical care in Burundi’s rural Kabezi district has markedly reduced maternal deaths.

Women with obstetric complications in Kabezi had little access to appropriate healthcare until Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) launched an emergency programme, the Centre for Obstetric Emergencies (CURGO), in 2006. Located in Kabezi hospital, the project offered free, high-quality emergency and surgical obstetric services. Referrals and ambulances were also provided so that women from 24 health centres were able to reach the CURGO, which admitted an average of 250 women per month in 2013.

After an MSF study in 2012 entitled Safe Delivery: Reducing Maternal Mortality in Sierra  Leone and Burundi showed these efforts had reduced maternal deaths by 74 per cent, the team trained and coached Burundian medical staff, and handed the programme over to local authorities in 2013.

Providing fistula care
An MSF team continued to provide obstetric fistula treatment this year at the Urumuri health centre in Gitega. Fistulas, a consequence of birth complications, cause not only pain but incontinence, which in  turn often leads to social exclusion and sometimes rejection by friends and family. The package of care at Urumuri includes surgery, physiotherapy and social support, and is  offered around the clock.

In 2013, MSF staff at the Kirundo malaria project continued to support 44 health centres and two hospitals with diagnosis and treatment of severe malaria.

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.

No. staff end 2013: 233 | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1992

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