Social Context - Geography

Burundi is a small African state located between Central and Eastern Africa, with an area of approximately 27,834 km2 and a population of approximately 12 million inhabitants and a density of 420 inhabitants/km2.

Burundi has an extremely young population with an average age of 17.

The country borders are Rwanda to the North, Tanzania to the East and South, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west.

Burundi is considered as a potentially emerging country where the level of quick industrialization makes it possible to reduce the gap with developed countries.

This process is ongoing and concerns:

  1. Improving the conditions and quality of life of the population
  2. A global transformation of the economy
  3. A results-based management and funding approach


The country’s economy is mainly based on subsistence agriculture, which accounts for about 90% of the country’s agricultural production, with some exported crops such as tea and coffee, remains among the two main cash crops.
Tea represents 28.3% or 12,064.2 million BIF and coffee 13.2%, or 5,632.1 million BIF of the total export value of local products in the third quarter of 2021, according to data from the Office Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR).

The industrial sector is less developed and would require significant local and foreign investment to be revived.

Burundi has a nominal The gross domestic product per capita (GDP) per capita, with an annual income of US$625 in 2023, with nearly three out of four Burundians living in conditions of poverty and 3.6 million inhabitants living in conditions of extreme poverty

The health situation of the Burundian population remains precarious, and this depends on the determinants of health but also on the poor performance of the health system.

The health situation of the Burundian population

The health situation of the Burundian population remains precarious, and this depends on the determinants of health but also on the poor performance of the health system.

56% of children under 5 suffer from stunted growth, the pregnancy-related mortality rate is 334 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, 1 child in 20 dies before reaching their first birthday and in general, the risk of dying between birth and the fifth birthday is 78‰.

Malaria is the main endemic disease that cyclically affects a large part of the population and is the leading cause of death in hospitals and health centers.

 The Burundian government has chosen to strengthen human capital by making free medical assistance a priority for pregnant women and children under five.

The efforts of the government and its partners involved in population health attach fundamental importance to the health of mothers and children as a vulnerable group for a better future.

For the rest of the population, care is chargeable and, most of the time, unsustainable. The lack of adequate sanitation facilities and poor hygiene practices are a big obstacle to improving the health of the population: only 61% of the population has access to drinking water (57% in rural areas), 46% has a basic sanitation service (42% in urban areas) and 6% has an adequate sanitation service (hand washing facility with soap and water).

Therefore, the priority concerns the development of human capital, both as a prerequisite and as an essential component of sustainable socio-economic development. Equitable and non-discriminatory access for the Burundian population, in particular for women and young people, to quality basic services in the sectors (i) health, (ii) drinking water, hygiene and sanitation services, and (iii) education and basic vocational training, will also be strengthened.

FVN's strategic plan is designed to ensure that we build on priority positive actions

Knowing that the FONDATION VENUSTE NIYONGABO is anxious to make its contribution, through its interventions including the health axis, in order to guarantee the right of access to health care, the non-coverage of which constitutes a serious violation of human dignity.

The VENUSTE NIYONGABO Foundation is committed to being a partner of the State in the field of health to contribute to the implementation of the ODD through the PNS 2016-2025 and the health sector strategy 2021-2027.

In this context, the FVN is committed to several initiatives to improve the health of the Burundian population:

  1. Through the projects implemented on the national territory, the FONDATION VENUSTE NIYONGABO accomplishes a purely humanitarian work of the promotion of the health and socio-economic well-being in the communities
  2. “FVN” undertakes to ensure the periodic professional retraining of local medical and nursing staff employed in the various health facilities. It also undertakes to promote the “training of trainers” as a necessary resource for the continuous training of medical-hospital staff.
  3. “FVN” committed to facilitate and establish contacts with partners likely to bring added value to the health system in Burundi. It commits to organize and coordinate regular work-training missions to enable medical professionals from Italy and elsewhere to come and share their expertise with the staff of the various hospitals in general and in particular for care whose complexity requires foreign expertise.

Overview of FVN activities

First mission Italian health professionals took place in June from 16 to 29, 2023 in Bujumbura and Gitega and consisted of making contact and observing the various public health issues

A second Italian health professional mission is planned in October from 7th to 14th 2023 for a practical intervention related to the health issues listed in collaborative with local medical health systems.

Our Action Plans

Activités de formation spécialisée en lien avec les principales problématiques de santé :

  1. Specialized training activities related to the main health issues: Maternal and child health: primary health care; Ophthalmology, physical rehabilitation – physiotherapist, Internal medicine – Prevention of diseases in particular the emphasis on diabetes and hypertension.
  1. Disease prevention by promoting physical activity and of a healthy diet. Organization of sporting events to raise public awareness to carry out screening and training activities on the main diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
  2. Activation of basic telemedicine projects, especially the establishment of a center for asynchronous teleconsultation which provides specialized advice remotely.
  3. Participation in research projects in collaboration with the University of Burundi in the field of the application of new technologies for the improvement of the health of the vulnerable community, in particular mothers and children and subjects suffering from chronic pathologies.

In summary, the health situation in Burundi is precarious, but efforts are underway to improve the situation. The Venuste Niyongabo Foundation is among organizations working to improve access to health care and reduce the prevalence of disease in Burundi.

However, much remains to be done to ensure universal health coverage for the entire population of Burundi.

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