The Ombudsman's visit strengthens cooperation between Burundi and GMA

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Since 2014, GMA has donated medicine and hospital equipment to Burundi for almost 40 million DKK. In October 2022, Burundi's ombudsman, Edouard Nduwimana, visited Denmark to discuss even closer cooperation.

On a number of research and inspection trips to Burundi, Hans Frederik Dydensborg, chairman of GMA, has met Edouard Nduwimana several times, and their good relationship gave rise to inviting the ombudsman to Denmark when he was at a meeting in Brussels. Over the course of two days, Edouard Nduwimana inspected GMA's warehouse in Skibby and discussed the efforts with the organization's doctors. Satisfaction with the results of the visit was high, and Edouard Nduwimana looks forward to expanding the relationship with GMA: "Burundi is clearly interested in a long-term collaboration with GMA, and an optimization of the quantity and quality of the equipment that you send to us. We have problems with hospital equipment and infrastructure and lack doctors.”

On the right course after grueling civil war
Burundi is one of Africa's most densely populated countries, and the situation has been characterized both economically and socially by the conflict between Tutsis and Hutus. Today, the country ranks 183 out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index and struggles with extreme poverty, which is due to the civil war in the 1990s and subsequent political and social unrest. The country is therefore very dependent on financial aid from abroad and struggles with rising inflation.

- "When GMA has chosen to focus on Burundi as a recipient, it is primarily due to the development in the country", says Hans Frederik Dydensborg, chairman of GMA. "We work directly with the Ministry of Health and the First Lady as well as church organisations, and I have built up a strong network in the country."

Great need for help for the health sector
Burundi's government has had limited capacity to invest in the health system, and many Burundians do not have access to primary health care. The country is i.a. hard hit by diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS, and the UN estimates that around 120,000 children are orphaned as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Furthermore, Burundi had the lowest consumption of antibiotics of any country in the world in 2015 at 4.4 defined daily doses per 1,000 inhabitants. Nevertheless, the Human Rights Measurement Initiative finds that Burundi provides reasonable access to health based on income levels, and Edouard Nduwimana also points out that the development is going in the right direction: 

- "We don't have the doctors and resources that are needed, but the health system is well organised, and the President is now focusing on health and education, because we are aware that - for a country to develop - the population must have good health, and it must also be well educated. Our doctors are very competent, but many of them work abroad - especially in France and Belgium - so we have to look at how we can call the intellectuals home.

Fortunately, there are a number of international organizations that support Burundi, and the help that Global Medical Aid provides to Burundi is of vital importance. All we ask of Global Medical Aid is to continue to help and at the same time ensure that the medicines that we receive are in accordance with the law in Burundi. Therefore, it is also incredibly important that the organization continues to collaborate with the Ministry of Health.”

 

Edouard Nduwimana short profile:
Edouard Nduwimana is a Burundian politician and former Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Burundi from 2011 to 2016. He later became the Second Vice-President of the Burundian Parliament, but resigned from this post when he won the election to the office of Ombudsman.

In 2019, Nduwimana became a Ph.D. honoris causa in Management from London Commonwealth University.