In late 2007, Partners In Health began working in close partnership with the Government of Rwanda to rebuild the Burera district’s health system.
Within a few months of beginning work in the district, Partners In Health transformed Butaro Health Center into a temporary hospital facility complete with an operating room and supported the recruitment of health care providers to staff the facility. In December 2008, construction began on a new 150-bed district hospital in Butaro.
The vision for the new Burera hospital is ambitious and multifold: to bring a well-designed and innovative new hospital to serve the people of Burera. The plans for infection control, expanded existing and new services, training programs, and modern equipment and technology will all make the delivery of the highest quality of care possible for the population of Burera, a region that has long lacked access to high quality health care.
In addition to the four basic services (maternity, internal medicine, surgery, and pediatrics), the new hospital will include an emergency department, a full surgery ward with two operating rooms, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), an intensive care unit (ICU), outpatient ophthalmology and gynecology services, an ear nose and throat clinic (ENT), and significantly expanded laboratory capabilities. The facility will feature modern measures for infection control including natural cross-ventilation through clerestories, secluded patients wards around courtyards, and an effective spatial triage system allowing for separation of patients based on their condition.
The vision for the hospital includes creating a scientific community of clinical and non-clinical staff alike, with the hope that people will travel far and wide to teach, learn, deliver care, and seek care at the new facility. In the future, Butaro District Hospital will be an example of how to achieve a modern hospital in rural Africa with an academic environment capable of delivering world-class medical care.
Partners In Health has served as the main contractor for the hospital construction. Volunteer architects from MASS Design Group created the site design and provided on-site supervision of construction activities. Construction was led and carried out exclusively by a Rwandan team. To date, the project has created over 2000 jobs for the population of Burera. Rapid construction has been made possible by an around the clock work schedule.
The completion of the hospital represents the culmination of a partnership to strengthen service delivery at all levels of the district health system. The collaboration between PIH and the MOH includes support for the roll out of the MOH’s national community health program, salary incentives to increase health care worker motivation, renovation of three district health centers and a temporary district hospital, extensive training for health care workers at all levels of the health system, support for mutuelle subscriptions, and community-based interventions to address the social and economic determinants of poor health. With the completion of the new hospital, Partners In Health will increase its operational and clinical support to the district and transform the hospital into a regional center of clinical excellence.
On January 24, 2011, Butaro Hospital opened its doors.