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Report of the 18th Mission to Burundi (Medical Services)

On Sunday, the 2nd of August 2009, a Heart Doctors team consisted of 8 members left Athens and travelled by air to Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi.

The purpose of the mission was to offer medical services to the people of Gisuru in Ruyigi province and inaugurate the operating theatre and operating clinic, the paediatric clinic and the extension of the school building in Gisuru.

The team was welcomed at the airport of Bujumbura by the Governor and the Provincial Medical Officer of Ruyigi. Unfortunately, no preparation for the inauguration ceremony had been organized. The team met the Minister of Health who apologized for such a misunderstanding; it also met the President of the Country who cordially received Heart Doctors and said the inauguration would take place in autumn he promised to be present in the ceremony himself. The President said  people in Garuzi province were very poor indeed and invited Heart Doctors to work there too.

The team offered medical services at the hospital of Gisuru to the crowds of sick people who had gathered at Gisuru from the districts around. All the inhabitants, babies, children and grown ups were seriously sick ( malaria, infections of the upper respiratory system, dysentery etc. ). Morbidity is enhanced by the fact that food is insufficient and the population suffers from serious malnutrition.

The doctors asked for milk to be given to a starving sick baby whose mother had no milk to feed it from the breast. At last a villager with a cow was found; he was paid by Heart Doctors to give the baby every day enough milk for three months. That event led the team to the idea of offering a cow to each of the very poor families to feed their young children in Gisuru. The purchase and distribution of cows will take place in the next mission to Burundi.

It was also decided to finance the required works to secure drinking water and electricity supply for the whole hospital of Gisuru ( construction of a well, installation of a generator ).

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