Gitega Health Centre
Gitega is the political capital of Burundi (as of 2019) in the back-country, about three hours away from the urban epicenter, Bujumbura. The Gitega Clinic began as a dream to be able to treat women and children who have no means of transportation to get to the larger health centres. The opening of this clinic on the outskirts of Gitega made a significant impact for the locals who previously did not have access to medical support.
CC4Africa funded the construction of Phase 1, a day clinic. The newly minted Gitega Clinic started testing women for HIV in October 2008.
The Phase 2 work motivated CC4Africa to continue the momentum and raise funds for Phase 3, the creation of a maternity facility. By the fall of 2012, the fully-fledged Gitega Health Centre was providing that maternity care. This endeavour was largely supported by two marathon walks that raised $21,000 CAD.
Since the Gitega Health Centre is now self-sustaining, CC4Africa is focusing on supporting Gitega Children, a program for previously vulnerable children who are living near the clinic.
In the End
The Gitega Health Centre is now supported by the Burundian government and is essentially self-sustaining with a pay-what-you-can model supplemented by federal funds. CC4Africa members should find it rewarding to see that one of its first major projects is now self-sustaining and supporting local children.
Seeing the successful completion of Phase 1, a UK-based NGO funded Phase 2 in 2010. This allowed the clinic to expand its services to Nutrition and Pediatrics. Two Irish nurses through the Samaritan Purse came to the clinic to train staff on child nutrition and start a class for local women. A daycare was provided for the children to reduce barriers in providing education to interested families.
To this point, the Gitega Health Centre had been powered by generators, but they did not provide enough energy to support its expansion. As such, CC4Africa raised $17,000 CAD to match a private donation to purchase a transformer, line equipment and labour to connect the clinic with Gitega power. This expansion allows the clinic to use Canadian-donated X-Ray and ultrasound equipment.
The Gitega Health Centre, 10 years after being built, now specializes in maternity care (prenatal, birth and post-natal). There is a full-time nurse and a mid-wife (sage-femme) in addition to other supporting staff. They are currently focusing on getting new medical equipment for the health centre. However, a medical doctor is not currently available to interpret laboratory results. ARM Burundi, a local partner, is working to have a doctor visit the clinic part-time or on a rotational basis.