AHA Programmes (2002 – Present)
- Capacity Development
- Health Care
- Relief and Recovery
Protection and Assistance
Throughout its duration, AHA has continued to assist returnees in experiencing a safe and dignified journey home. Working in transit camps, situated at a number of entry points along the Tanzanian and Rwandan borders, we assist in the provision of essential health and nutritional services, transportation, and general information, as well as working to mitigate the negative impact of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases.
Returnees are often exposed to many increased health risks, with unpredictable conditions and an absence of basic services and amenities. Therefore, AHA aims to facilitate people’s safe return, ensuring that they experience no detrimental effect to their health and wellbeing. AHA’s assistance begins at the borders, where returnees are provided with information about transit camps and available health care services, transportation is organized for those who need it, health teams are sent to accompany convoys, and an initial medical screening is performed. Vulnerable persons are identified and given the appropriate assistance before being escorted to a health centre or to Cankuzo hospital.
Recent work has seen us building on the success of a previous pilot project, aimed at strengthening and maximizing the medical assistance provided to returnees. AHA teams have organized and supervised the distribution and application of a ‘minimum package of activity’ (PMA) and a ‘complementary package of activity’ (PCA), to better address the health needs of individuals. Activities have included vaccination of children and pregnant mothers, post and pre-natal consultations, primary health care, and distribution of medicine. Services have been extended to five further health centers, doubling the number of assisted persons.
Additional activities have seen AHA’s Health Centers working to reduce the prevalence and impact of common diseases. Malaria remains the biggest killer in Burundi, and other regular complaints include respiratory infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and diarrhea, the latter claiming the lives of countless young children. Numerous measures have been put in place to counteract such trends, including; sensitization campaigns, training, preventative methods (distribution of mosquito nets/condoms), and a focus on improved general hygiene. In addition a high coverage of vaccination has been achieved, thanks to a new control system incorporating the use of a vaccination calendar.
Reproductive health continues to play a central role in our service provision, with measures to assist safe delivery and the ongoing health care of young mothers and newborn children. Efforts have entailed the distribution of delivery kits incorporating a basin, material, and soap. In addition, family planning services have included training in the use of condoms and contraceptives, consultations, advice and distribution of the aforementioned.
Complimentary to our efforts in health care is our work in nutrition. Activities include the systematic examination of children under 5 and expecting/young mothers, leading to identification and referral of malnourished persons to feeding stations, along with the distribution of essential food and non-food items.
Water and Sanitation: AHA ensures that a high standard of hygiene is maintained in each transit camp; regularly chlorinating water supplies, disinfecting sanitation systems/latrines and regulating the general environmental hygiene within camps.
AHA programmes are designed to achieve sustainable solutions, building on the strengths of a community to realize self reliance and improved resilience. To this end, we run numerous training sessions on issues such as the safe storage and distribution of medicine, good nutrition, HIV/AIDS, female contraception and reproductive/maternal health. Participants include locally employed AHA staff and traditional birth attendants.
Challenges and Achievements:
Working in Burundi we face a number of challenges, not the least of which is a lack of qualified staff for our four newly built health centers which await opening, as well as communication difficulties between transit camps and Cankuzo Hospital and petrol shortages. Combined, these challenges make the transportation of arrivals, vulnerable people and emergency cases problematic. Despite this we continue to achieve many good results, with notably increased efforts in sensitization and capacity development, along with an expansion in services to five further health centers.
For more information about AHA Burundi, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org