Iranian Physician Contributing to Burundi Healthcare

People in Burundi are still at risk of developing and dying of infectious diseases.
People in Burundi are still at risk of developing and dying of infectious diseases.

Every year, Iranian skin specialist and general physician Dr Nasser Emadi, a member of Doctors Without Borders and a board member of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, travels to Africa to provide healthcare services to the needy.

“It is the tenth time that I have visited Burundi, a country in East Africa close to the Central African Republic (CAR) where people have been affected by regional conflict. This year, I traveled at the request of that country’s ministry of Public health to help develop strategies for the sustainable fight against HIV/AIDS,” he had said in March, the Persian language weekly ‘Salamat’ reported.

Three years ago, Emadi, 51, who is also director general of Iranian Red Crescent Society’s medical centers in Africa, was in Burundi for a month to help patients with skin diseases. After the visit, Laurent Kavakure, former Burundi foreign minister in a letter to his Iranian counterpart said, “For the first time a skin clinic was opened in our country’s biggest hospital (in capital Bujumbara) in cooperation with Dr Emadi. At his request, the clinic was named after Imam Reza (AS).”

Explaining the acute shortage of trained healthcare staff, Emadi said, “There are only nine general surgeons, eight internal specialists, seven children’s specialists, three otolaryngologists and only one skin specialist in the country,” which has a population of 11 million people with 4% Muslims. The rest are Christians.

The biggest hospital (Roi Khaled) with 430 beds built in 1986 in the capital is still not equipped with CT scan or even a dialysis machine, he noted.

He urged his colleagues in Iran to work in Africa and contribute to the medical and healthcare of the African people.

Currently, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) rather than infectious diseases are the leading cause of death in many developed and developing countries across the world. “But people in Burundi are still at risk of developing and dying of infectious diseases including food and waterborne diseases, as well as vector-borne diseases,” he said.  

In 2015, Doctors Without Borders provided valuable healthcare services to people living in CAR including 1 million medical consultations, 18,000 deliveries, 7,100 surgical interventions, and providing antiretroviral (ARV) treatments to HIV/AIDS patients.  Burundi’s security is much better than CAR and the people are peace-loving and kind, Emadi said. Tea and coffee agriculture constitutes the most important sources of income.

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