The government of Burundi in East Africa is determined to work with The Foundation to implement a much-needed eye care strategy for this densely populated nation.
Burundi, officially known as the Republic of Burundi, is one of the poorest countries in the world and among the smallest in Africa. It has a population density of 312 people per square kilometre, the second highest population density in sub-Saharan Africa.
Burundi is in urgent need of eye care because government services are limited and there are only ten ophthalmologists in the country (and only two of them perform eye surgery). Eight of the ten ophthalmologists are based in the capital city of Bujumbura, and mainly provide optical services.
In 2009, The Fred Hollows Foundation began work in Burundi by conducting a successful pilot surgical campaign in the Ngozi District, restoring sight to 183 cataract patients. We have since determined the overall eye health needs of the district and will commence our long term program in 2012.
The Vice President of Burundi, Dr Yves Sahinguvu, has acknowledged The Foundation’s dedication to supporting the people of Burundi and improving eye care services.
- Performed 108 cataract surgeries and 62 other sight-saving or improving interventions
- Trained four surgeons and 26 nurses and clinic support staff
- Supported an ophthalmologist from the capital, Bujumbura, to conduct weekly visits to Ngozi Hospital in the north for eye surgeries and consultations – an essential measure while we help build the local eye health workforce
- Held outreach eye camps in the Northern Province, where health workers trained by The Foundation screened and treated 4,321 people living in remote locations.
We achieved these results working together with our partners.
Facts and figures
|Number of blind people||approx 87,000|
|Main causes of blindness||cataract (50%), uncorrected refractive error (10%), and childhood blindness (5%)|
|Number of people with cataract blindness||48,000 (backlog) and an annual incidence of 9,600 cases|
|Number of cataract operations performed annually||125 operations per million people|
|Number of ophthalmologists||10 known (of which only 2 perform surgery)|
|Life expectancy||50.9 years|
|Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 births)||88|
|Adult Literacy rate||67%|
|Population living on $1.25 a day||81%|
|Children (0-5 years) underweight for age||29%|
|Number of doctors (per 10,000 people)||less than 0.5|
Sources: UNDP Human Development Report 2013