In Burundi, one of the world’s poorest countries, health remains a challenge for the most vulnerable. Burundi is also a haven for Congolese refugees.
More than 67% of the Burundian population lives below the poverty line. The country is experiencing relatively weak economic growth and suffers from high inflation. It is also one of the most densely populated African countries. The Human Development Index (UNDP 2014) ranks Burundi 184th out of 187.
In the health sector, Burundi has some disturbing statistics on neonatal and maternal mortality rates. For the past 15 years, pregnancy and childbirth rank third among recorded causes of death in hospitals. Many women develop an obstetric fistula, or severe tear, as a result of a difficult delivery, or lose their lives during childbirth.
In terms of mortality, women and children under five pay a heavy price and are at risk. The origins of many physical and mental difficulties include chronic diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, mental illnesses, as well as physical violence, sexual violence, road accidents, and war.
Since 1993, the effects of regional political and security instability have led to significant population movements: refugees, mostly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where there are also thousands of internally displaced persons. Since April 2015, following the volatile political climate in the country, hundreds of thousands of Burundians have fled to Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.