'We are committed to bringing quality medical care to people, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation'
The international medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) treated 60 injured people at its trauma centre in Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi, on Monday after grenades exploded in several of the city’s neighbourhoods.
“On Monday morning, we treated nearly 60 wounded people in the emergency room within a very short period of time,” explains MSF program manager Richard Veerman.
The MSF team launched a mass casualty plan in order to treat the rapid influx of wounded, triaging to treat the most serious cases first. “We opened a second operating room and performed five emergency surgeries in the hours that followed.”
- Present to provide care for all’: A Montreal-based doctor helps MSF deliver health security amid unrest in Burundi
MSF’s trauma centre includes 43 beds, an emergency room, two operating rooms and an intensive care unit. Its services are free and available to anyone who meets the admission criteria – which includes all those who have experienced a violent trauma. “We are committed to bringing quality medical care to people, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation,” Veerman notes.
Since the MSF centre opened in July, 630 wounded patients have obtained treatment; more than 390 of them required hospitalization.
- 'We treat anyone who is injured, whatever their politics': MSF responds to election violence in Burundi
MSF is one of the only international organizations treating the wounded and medical emergencies in the capital. Its activities in Burundi are financed solely by individual contributions. MSF does not accept funds from any government.
MSF has been working in Burundi for more than 20 years and intensified its activities in Bujumbura when pre-electoral tensions began to mount in May. It supported three health posts located near the sites where demonstrations occurred and thus facilitated access to free care for nearly 120 patients hospitalized in public facilities. MSF also trained the medical staff at the Prince Rwagasore hospital in Bujumbura to treat trauma victims and donated medicine and medical supplies.