Burundi

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Summary

Counselling Associations

All Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations.

Burundi Psychological Association (BPA)
Note*: There is no official website for this Association, the BPA is an affiliate of the Psychological Society of Kenya

Trauma Healing And Reconciliation Services (THARS)

Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial/ International Planned Parenthood Federation

International Trauma Centre (Burundi)

Association des Scouts du Burundi (ASB)

Association Dushirehamwe

AP/GL (Solidarité d’Action pour la Paix / Grands Lacs) (French speaking)

Centre de Soins Mentaux de Gitega (CSMG) Saint Camille by (Fracarita International)

Centre Neuro-Psychiatrique Kamenge (CNPK) by (Fracarita International)

Centre Neuropsychiatrique de Ngozi by (Fracarita International)

Universities and Other Education and Training Institutes

Hope Africa University

Counselling Agencies, Services, Group Practices, Counselling Centres

Currently there is no private counselling practises available at Burundi’s capital and no information is officially placed on the websites. Main counselling practises are only practised through NGOs. Please refer to category ONE above.

Background & Context

In this context of poverty, there is a huge lack of basic needs, damaged social fabric and neglect of mental health issues. The international non-governmental organisation (NGO) TPO (Trans- cultural Psychosocial Organisation, after 2005: HealthNet TPO) successfully applied in 2000 for funds from The Netherlands government to begin a programme which would provide psychosocial and mental health services to this war related population, while new clinics and hospitals are being built and staffed, these offer only primary health services and mental healthcare is still largely neglected despite the widespread need for it, especially during the post-war. In 2000, Burundi had one psychiatrist (trained abroad) and no psychiatric nurses or psychiatric social workers. The country had (and still has) only one psychiatric hospital, with around 60 beds and with no psychiatrist. The Faculty of Education at the University of Burundi started to train clinical psychologists in the late 1990s, but at the time there were no organisations in which these workers could be employed.
There are very limited human resources with almost no ongoing training or retraining (World Health Organization, 2008). There has been very little mental health research (Sharan et al., 2009), although a regional conference of health ministers noted the importance of moving the development of psychosocial interventions onto “the central stage of evidence based science” (Baingana & Ventevogel, 2008, p. 172). 

Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:

Currently there are two main NGOs that are providing mental healthcare facilities that come along with various psychosocial activities. It has been acquiring a number of  projects and programs aiming for the rehabilitation of marginalized groups such as war and HIV/AIDS orphans, child soldiers, victims of sexual violence, internally displaced people, refugees and other vulnerable populations. Staff of various international, local NGOs and Burundian governments have been trained in different aspects of psychosocial assistance and mental health care. The programming strongly promotes mainstreaming of psychosocial and mental health wellbeing with regards to development and peace consolidation.

Practice Settings

It is run by the non-profit organization and their mission is to contribute to and help improve the mental wellbeing of people and communities in Burundi. To facilitate rapid and easy access to psychosocial assistance and support for refugees, internally displaced people and victims of disasters in affected communities and areas.

Challenges & Trends

People in Burundi tend to associate epilepsy and severe mental disorders with supernatural causes and often seek help outside the health care sector (Nsengiyumva et al., 2006). There is also scant research on local beliefs about the kinds of behaviors, feelings, and cognitions that define mental illnesses, or beliefs about their causes and treatments (Summerfield, 2008).

Additional Information & References

For a deeper exploration of the counselling profession in the country, interested readers are recommended to read the following journal articles:

  • Irankunda, P., Heatherington, L., & Fitts, J. (2017). Local terms and understandings of mental health problems in Burundi. Transcultural Psychiatry, 54(1), 66-85. doi:10.1177/1363461516689004
  • Sharan, P., Gallo, C., Gureje, O., Lamberte, E., Mari, J. J., Mazzotti, G., . . . Saxena, S. (2009). Mental health research priorities in low- and middle-income countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. British Journal of Psychiatry, 195(4), 354-363. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.108.050187
  • Summerfield, D. (2008). How scientifically valid is the knowledge base of global mental health? British Medical Journal, 336, 992–994. doi:10.1136/bmj.39513.441030.AD. 
Burundi
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