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Burundi -- Health

The health system was doing fairly well in 1993; but it was damaged severely by the ethnic violence that followed. The health ministry was adept at long range planning and had competent leadership. Burundi boasted 34 hospitals and 270 clinics. In 1994, the HIV infection rate was 2% (15% in urban areas and 1% in rural areas).

However, since 1993, medical staff have been caught up in the internal conflict and have, at times, been targets of ethnic violence. Mass displacements, war, a deteriorating road system, and an international embargo have made access to health care difficult if not impossible. There has been a dangerous increase in malnutrition and life threatening diseases. The refugee camps have been hit hard by infectious diseases. International humanitarian aid since 1997 has been hampered by a deteriorating transportation infrastructure that has had many roads washed away by heavy rains. Sanctions have led to a dramatic increase in the price of medicines; however, this problem was alleviated somewhat by exemptions for medicine in the embargo that went into effect in April of 1997. [1]

[1] The Economist Intelligence Unit. 1998-99. Country Profile. Rwanda and Burundi. The Unit: London.


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