Supporting the reform of the University of Burundi’s medicine program

22 January 2022

Continent: Africa

Duration: 2017-2021

Donor: Nuffic

Partner: Maastricht University (UM), Cordaid, Skills Meducation.

23 March 2021

Introduction to the project

Burundi is densely populated and faces many health challenges. These challenges have been aggravated by the socio-political and security crises that have affected the country in recent decades. Furthermore, the Burundian population is very young, with 44% of the population younger than fifteen years. This young population, both in and out of school, faces significant challenges in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights and equity. Also, the country faces an inadequacy of resources (quantity, quality) in relation to needs. Certain skills are not available on the job market and staff are reluctant to work in hard-to-reach areas. The shortcomings can be explained in part by deficiencies in the training system, such as insufficient supervision of learners, facing difficulties to adapt curricula to employment needs, and hardships in taking the community perspective in training into account.


The University of Burundi (French: Université du Burundi, or UB) is a public university located in Bujumbura, Burundi. The university houses eight faculties, one of which is the Faculty of Medicine (Faculté de la Médecine). In this study, students are educated to be future healthcare professionals. Medical training in Burundi has resolutely embarked on the process of switching to the BMD (Bachelor-Master-Doctorate) system, commonly known as LMD (Licence-Master-Doctorate). However, the changeover remains incomplete and currently, the two training architectures (old system, BMD) still coexist in the faculties. Moreover, pedagogical and didactic innovations have not yet been introduced that would allow for the training of a new type of Burundian doctor who is well prepared and willing to serve rural communities.

The present project therefore aims to contribute to the strengthening of medical training that will enable to meet the health needs and expectations of Burundian society throughout the country. In this project, there is a particular focus for gender and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Burundi project

CINOP Global and partners will contribute to the achievement of the following objectives during this project:

  • A coherent curriculum in medicine will be developed and implemented in three faculties integrating SRHR;
  • The governance of quality will be enhanced in the three faculties resulting in an improved implementation of the medicine curriculum;
  • Gender and the labour market are two intrinsic aspects of the three faculties’ reference framework and are integrated and implemented at all levels of their functioning;
  • Research within the three faculties (targeting in particular the SRHR) will meet international quality standards and will contribute to the upgrading of teacher-researchers according to the CAMES scales of ability;
  • The adapted equipment and infrastructures will be acquired, and the technical capacities reinforced to allow for sustainable implementation of SRHR in the medicine curriculum.

Our solution/approach

To reach these objectives, the following actions will be carried out:

  • Development and implementation of the full medical curriculum (every 3 cycles of the BMD) according to the problem-oriented and community-based teaching approach;
  • Inclusion of SRHR in training pathways: social dimension (for all learners); Medical dimension (for specialties);
  • Institutionalization of good governance and a quality culture within the three faculties for an appropriate implementation of the medical training program;
  • Capacity building of staff of the three faculties in their roles as governing and teaching staff, and supervisors at the student internship sites.
  • promotion of research with specific focus on SRHR, and related to the career progress of teacher-researchers (CAMES scales of competence);
  • Gender and labour market integration at all levels in the three faculties (policy, enrolment, programs, learning activities, teaching and research and provision of services);
  • Networking with (i) communities in relation to training and research, (ii) key stakeholders of the medical education system in Burundi, (iii) international partners;
  • Adequate and sustainable investments for the implementation of training.

This modernized medical training, which will take sufficient account of SRHR and gender issues, will also integrate the community perspective to ensure that the newly trained “Burundian doctor” is able and willing to promote SRHR in his or her services and to serve in rural areas.