We work in an area where the lack of access to routine procedures, basic sanitary and reproductive health education, and health personnel often leads to preventable and premature deaths. Our health care programs confront those challenges through prevention and treatment by our experienced clinical team and throughout the community by the 250 community health workers who provide daily care in the villages we serve. Our clinical programs are centered on five departments: maternal and infant health, child health, non-communicable diseases, infectious disease, and mental health.
In 2018, we continued to see an increase in patients, further emphasizing the need for the Kigutu Hospital and Women’s Health Pavilion. As the number of patients increases, we are investing significantly in our monitoring and evaluation capacity to improve our interventions and design new programs to address community needs.
After slightly over a decade of work, we have made substantial progress on our ambitious goal to provide access to dignified health care to those who live in our catchment area and the surrounding region. Despite these successes, we currently lack the surgical capacity to adequately care for patients requiring emergency surgery, in particular women facing complications during delivery. In the case of a difficult delivery or a life-threatening accident, the only options are a 45-minute ride to a hospital often lacking essential services, such as electricity and water, where a surgeon is likely not present, or a three-hour journey over extremely rough terrain to the capital city. In these conditions, patients we are unable to help frequently do not survive. We are building the Kigutu Hospital and Women’s Health Pavilion to stop these premature and preventable deaths. The hospital is a 150-bed, 85,000 square foot teaching hospital and is scheduled to open in 2020. When it opens it will provide inpatient medical and surgical care for 10,000 more patients and be able to safely deliver 2,000 babies every year, immediately saving lives. Our future plans include the introduction of clinical services not readily available in Burundi, such as cancer care, and the development of medical specialties like cardiology and neurology while maintaining a continued focus on maternal health and strengthened surgical capacity. We will set a new standard for care in Burundi by ensuring that the services we provide are dignified and patient-centered. This will include private delivery rooms, supporting fathers to contribute to the care of mothers and newborns, and social work and mental health services. This higher level of care will dramatically reduce mortality, lead to healthier babies and children, and build stronger family bonds. We will also use the hospital to train and educate the future of Burundian medicine. Today, post-graduate medical education is not widely available in Burundi, leading to the emigration of too many talented doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. Our hospital will offer clinical professionals the opportunity to receive hands-on training and gain critical skills in their own country. These activities will evolve into accredited medical education programs to address the lack of physician specialists, midwives, and allied health professionals. Connections between graduates will grow into a network of practitioners working together to improve the health care delivery system in Burundi.