Back to base
Trip Start Nov 10, 2010
43Trip End Dec 12, 2010
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Where I stayed
The health situation has not yet improved since my last visit, still 0.03 physicians per 1000 people (3.6 in Israel) and 0.73 beds per 1000 (5.83 in Israel). Life expectancy is only 58.4 years (in Israel 81.9 years.) At least our idea of improving the knowledge of nurses here is a sound one and perhaps we can even decrease the infant mortality rate which today is 6.1% rather high (in Israel this is 0.41%).
Since 2009, LifeNet (LN) has laid a foundation for impacting the health of the poor in Burundi, East Africa. I have been actively involved since the very beginning.
LifeNet's three initiatives provide clinic-based training, growth financing loans, and distribution of good medicines. Earlier this year, they completed a pilot project with four local clinics, seeing 20,000 patient visits, and improving the quality of care by 30%, on average. There are now 10 clinic partners into our franchise network and I will be travelling to these distant clinics together with a colleague who was once my student and is now my boss.
I really like the idea that the roles are reversed and I am sure we will have a wonderful time together. This time I planned to be five weeks in the country and many new experiences are planned for me. Such as example working with a volunteer Master student in Nursing from Yale University and of course working with C.
The LN team in Burundi has only three people on the pay role, J. the country director and C who originally led the research in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania and has recently returned to Burundi to lead clinic implementation. The third person lives in Florida and I have not yet met him.
I really appreciate is the hard work of these three while they could just have taken any good paying job anywhere in the world they continue to look for ways of improving the life of the very poor in Africa. I feel privileged to be able to lead the nurse training development.
While I am in Bujumbura J. takes care of all the administrative head aches as well as our safety. Please do not worry about us if you happen to read about unrest in the newspapers. Things like the incident in November when some crazy gunmen killed a nun and an Italian doctor who worked in a psychiatric clinic in northern Burundi. This kind of incidents are really rare and we always keep track of everything that is going on in the country, if need be we do change our program.
I really do hope that the planned visit of a group of LN donors will take place as planned. To meet and experience observing how the nurses and clinic staff work is something nobody can explain.
The people in Burundi are very warm and kind and eager to learn, alas also eager to please the white faces but that is something we cannot really change.
Hope that all of you write back to me, I love receiving mail and we do have real internet connections in the apartment. When I am in other clinics the connections may not be available but I do return "home" every few days.
My telephone is still the same (+257 791 71015) and the time is the same as in Israel.