A brief history of Burundi and of FDOB

Burundi, a small country in Central Africa is one of the poorest in the world and was classified 169th poorest of 177 countries. The population today is between 8 and 9 million, over 95% of whom live on subsistence farming. During the Civil war that lasted from 1994 to 2007, most specialists and general doctors fled the country so that today, the doctor/population ratio is one of the lowest in Africa and there is only one orthopaedic specialist in the entire country. Chris first went to Burundi in 2003-2004 with Doctors Without Borders on a surgical mission. He returned with his wife Danièle in 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012. After touring numerous hospitals in the Capital and countryside they witnessed first-hand the inadequacies of orthopaedic care so that, all too often, patients who were otherwise healthy became permanently disabled.

Realizing that there was little hope that things would improve in the short term , they decided together with their friend, Barnabé Karorero, to found their own non-governmental organisation, The Foundation For The Development Of Orthopaedics In Burundi. This organisation would have as its goal to provide modern, good quality orthopaedic care to the injured as well as to those people with limb deformities and handicaps whether it be from old injury, infection, congenital or other cause. Furthermore, this care would be offered to anyone in need including especially the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. In August 2010, FDOB was born, the founding members, were Chris, Danièle and Barnabé. Since January 2011, FDOB has been accredited with the Canadian government as a charitable organisation. During the months of February through May 2011, FDOB started its work performing over 150 surgeries in hospitals in Bujumbura, as well as in the interior of the country using donated and purchased orthopaedic materials.

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