Hope for Burundi
The roughly 12 million people of Burundi suffer greatly from malnutrition, malaria, and tuberculosis. In September of 2022, Kibuye Hope Hospital in Rural Burundi opened its surgical training program. It is the only Christ centered residency program in the entire country. This breakthrough has been years in the making and is the culmination of the dedication and commitment of several MedSend Grant Recipients and MedSend associates. It is the culmination of earnest prayer, faithful giving, and the tireless effort of a cohort of dedicated medical missionaries that have given their lives to the call of missions in the name of health and hope. Burundi is forever changed by how these doctors have engaged the pain, sickness, and spiritual need of its people!
According to the Isaiah Mission Foundation, over 200 Burundian doctors – as well as hundreds of nurses and other health professionals – have received the majority of their clinical training at Kibuye Hope Hospital under the teaching of MedSend funded grant recipients and are now practicing in every province of Burundi.
As a rural hospital far from other surgical centers, the surgical residents at Kibuye Hope will benefit from a broad spectrum of operative experience in multiple surgical subspecialties. They will also gain experience teaching and leading, as there is a permanent presence of medical students at Kibuye. As one of the most surgeon-deficient countries in the world, the graduates will have a huge opportunity to create long-term sustainable impact in their country.
BURUNDI, A NATION IN GREAT NEED OF CARE
If you are not sure where or what Burundi is, you are in the overwhelming majority. MedSend Grant Recipient and Serge missionary Dr. John Cropsey, who has been integral to the growth and success of Kibuye Hope and its selection as a surgical training site, shared his insight on Burundi and its people and had this to say about the nation he and his family have called home for the past 9 years:
“The small nation of Burundi sits in the heart of sub-Sarahan Africa, sharing borders with DR Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Burundi has the same primary ethnic groups as Rwanda, and compared to the Rwandan genocide, Burundi’s civil war of the 1990s and 2000s was less acute, more chronic, and certainly resulted in a country much more destroyed.
Burundi is a place of lovely people and lovely land. It is also, from a humanitarian standpoint, the most under-developed place you’ve never heard of, sharing the bottom rung in almost any statistic with the “famously bad” places of the world, i.e., Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, etc.”
KIBUYE HOPE HOSPITAL
The hospital sees over 40,000 patients each year and provides critical services in Maternity, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Ophthalmology, Malnutrition, Neonatology, and more. In addition to contributing to local employment and infrastructure, Kibuye Hope Hospital also supports the surrounding community via nutrition programs and the construction of a new primary school.
Each of these programs make essential contributions to the fulfillment of MedSend’s initiative along with our partners and associates to equip young Africans with professional skills and Christian values. They graduate prepared to serve a part of the world where trained healthcare professionals are scarce, life expectancies are short and maternal and childhood death rates are among the highest in the world.
These doctors help to bring healing and hope to the people of Burundi. Trained in a Christ-centered environment, these men and women have a chance to be the ethical and compassionate professionals that Burundi needs for stability and direction. Grants and government programs help make care affordable, and the doctors of Kibuye take time to encourage and pray for the patients in their care. But this wasn’t always the case.
MEDSEND ENGAGES BURUNDI
In November 2013, MedSend Grant Recipients and new Serge missionary training faculty members Dr. John Cropsey, Ophthalmologist, Dr. Rachel McLaughlin, OBGYN, Dr. Alyssa Pfister, Pediatrician, and several others arrived in Kibuye, Burundi when it was a small remote site with approximately 100 beds and 75 medical, nursing, and paramedical students.
In their own words, their vision for Kibuye Hope Hosptial was “to teach and disciple students in these schools, in order to have them go out to the rest of this country, which at present is among the most doctor-poor nations on earth. Our 30-year strategic plan envisions this place becoming a national center of medical care and education, expanding to over 300 beds, including surgical, intensive care, emergency, ophthalmology, community health, and NICU services, along with almost everything else you really can’t find anywhere in our region at present.”
Through the dedicated giving of our MedSend donors and the tireless investment of these missionaries, this vision is rapidly becoming reality.
NATIONAL SCHOLARS IMPACT
It’s not just our MedSend Grant Recipients who leave the US to go and serve who have made it possible for Kibuye Hope to become a fully accredited surgical training site. It’s also due to the incredible impact of MedSend funded National Scholars like Drs. Alliance Nikuyuri and Boaz Niyinyumva. When Dr. Nikuyuri and Dr. Niyinyumva became MedSend National Scholars, they had to be sent to Kenya for their surgical residencies because no opportunities for training existed in Burundi. The advancements in infrastructure, supplies, and training that these medical missionaries have made possible over the past 9 years at Kibuye Hope is quite literally building hope for the future of Burundi by allowing them to stay in-country and transform the bleak reality of low-quality care and lack of access to care.
“There is a lot of training going on here [at Kibuye Hope Hospital]; Christian mentorship” Dr. Nikuyuri tells us. “And you know, most of the doctors we are training, whether they are from Burundi or the region, they will most likely end up treating patients who have low resources and need to know what to do when you don’t have all the books that say what to do. That is what we do every day here. And we make sure the quality is good and the patients are safe, but we treat them. So...that’s a great vision that I think is going on at Kibuye right now.”
The improvements in infrastructure and training have been monumental in expanding Kibuye Hope’s capacity and potential. Completed projects include a well and water system that allowed the hospital to set up indoor plumbing and potable water, a solar energy system that allowed them to move off the unpredictable local power grid, homes for doctors on staff, a refrigerated morgue, and other facility buildings that will help them house and train a growing number of doctors in training.
Remember that small little hospital of 100 beds where our MedSend Grant Recipients arrived ready to roll up their sleeves in 2013? That little hospital now regularly treats over 1300 hospitalized patients every month, with 130 beds in the Pediatric department alone. And these patients aren’t just experiencing physical healing and hope for a healthy future—they’re hearing the Gospel and finding hope in eternal life in Christ.
GIVE THE GIFT OF HOPE
Your willingness to engage with MedSend means mothers that were dying because of lack of access to healthcare are living; babies are surviving that would never have had a chance; doctors are being trained to become Christian healthcare missionaries to their own people. It’s all in this story of a little mission hospital in one of the poorest countries in the world.
You, along with MedSend, our partners, and a group of trained, committed and courageous doctors, have built and continue to build Hope in Burundi—hope for good health, improved lives, and for the grace of God to raise up fully devoted disciples in Christ.
Healthcare remains the only form of access as a Christian witness in many countries.
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