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39th Mission BURUNDI

On Saturday, 29.3.2014, a five member team of Heart Doctors visited Burundi via Constantinople, Cairo, Nairobi (Turkish Airlines) and Nairobi - Bujumbura (Kenyan Airlines). The purpose of the mission was to offer medical services and medicines to five remote communities of Gitega province. The Governor of Gitega, Mr. Sylvestre Sindayihebura, was responsible for the local organization of the mission.

The team stayed at an hotel of the capital of the province. Every day it moved by car to one community as it had been planned; it spent the day there seeing and attending sick people and returned to the capital in the evening to spend the night at the hotel. The dispensary was organized at the local medical center or at a school building or in other suitable places of the community visited. Every morning the team was received at the communities visited by the local authorities while a band of drummers beat their traditional drums to honour and thank gratefully the doctors for their medical assistance. Gitegas famous drummers are the best in Burundi.

Mothers with their babies and children, as well as grown ups and old people gathered at the dispensary to be seen by the doctors; the communities visited by Heart Doctors were the following:

Monday, 31.3.2014: Mungwa
Tuesday, 1.4.2014: Mdava
Wednesday, 2.4.2014: Makebuko
Thusday, 3.4.2014: Buraza
Friday, 4.4.2014: Bugendana

An old woman appeared among the patients holding in her arms a months old baby whose mother had died. Since suck was not given to the baby, the old woman tried to keep it alive by giving it whatever she could find; as a result the baby was underfed and very weak. Heart Doctors fed the baby with milk for children they dad brought from Athens. The baby revived. Two other babies were found in a similar condition and were also given milk which saved them.

A woman who had recently given birth to her baby was brought to the dispensary because the placental expulsion had not occurred. The doctors kept the woman in the dispensary and attended her; in a few hours the placenta came out or the birth canal and the woman returned home.

One morning, very near the community to be visited, the team of Heart Doctors met on the way a man on a bicycle carrying a sick child. The doctors told him to follow them and bring the child to the dispensary. The cyclist did not appear. Heart Doctors found him and examined the child which suffered severely from malaria; by the proper treatment the child revived soon.

The main health problems observed were malaria, gastroenteritis, bronchitis, skin diseases, lumbago, parasites, scabies, conjunctivitis, liver and spleen syndromes.

Heart Doctors thank warmly the Consul of Greece in Burundi, Mr. George Coucoulis and the Governor of Gitega, Mr Sylvestre Sindayihebura, for the preparation of the mission and their essential contribution to the success of this mission.

The team returned to Athens on Sunday, 6.4.2014.

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