AO Alliance course coordinator for operative fracture care in Burundi
Dr Jean-Claude Niyondiko is a trauma and orthopedic surgeon (T&O) who began his studies in Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital, followed by Rennes and Lille, in France.
Today, he is one of only five T&O surgeons in Burundi, for a population of just over 11 million people. Jean-Claude holds several positions within the AO Alliance: coordinator of operative courses, national course chair and member of the steering committee for French-speaking Africa.
It was in 2011 that Dr Niyondiko met Professor Sylvain Terver, who was looking for French-speaking African surgeons to become T&O focal points for the AO Socio-Economic Committee. These motivated surgeons were trained to teach and lead various courses on fracture treatment in their respective countries, and Dr Niyondiko ensured educational events were held across the four regions of Burundi, so as to have an impact on a larger number of patients.
The demand for trauma care is high in Burundi. The road infrastructure is unsafe: narrow roads where cyclists, pedestrians and cars coexist, as well as the frequent use of bicycle and motorcycle taxis, which lead to many accidents.
In addition to the lack of T&O surgeons, one of the major problems in treating fractures is the delay in access to care. The university hospitals where T&O surgeons work are all located in Bujumbura. As a result, patients sometimes have to wait far too long to be treated, and surgeons are rarely able to treat recent fractures.
To date, over 250 healthcare workers (surgeons, doctors, nurses) have been able to benefit from the various educational events of the AO Alliance. Dr. Niyondiko notes with enthusiasm that the impact is clearly visible: “We have been able to see progress in the number of transferred patients who receive better pre-hospital care than they would have before. For example: dislocations are being reduced and more plaster casts are being applied. A few years ago, dislocations of the hip or shoulder were being not caught in time and could only be corrected surgically.”