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.
Working together with our local partners, The Foundation:
- Trained three clinic support staff and 32 community health workers
- Completed renovation of Ngozi Hospital, which now contains an optical shop, pharmacy, fully equipped stock room and optometric technician rooms
- Commenced a new program in the North Region to build health facilities, which will provide care for more than 1.2 million people
- Delivered $80,000 in medical equipment.
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
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