About half the babies in MSF neonatal units are of low birth weight or premature. Photo by Sarah Elliott
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Jeannine Ntunzwenimana, 20, was seven months pregnant when her water broke. “This is my second child, my first is 3 years and 6 months old. My first pregnancy was by c-section at the MSF hospital. My water broke early, I was very affraid because it was too soon. I went to the nearest health center at Gitaza. It was one and a half hour walk away. An ambulance from MSF came to pick me up. The health center called them because they said they weren’t able to help the baby. If MSF was not here, I could of died and my baby too. The way they welcome us is very different to other places.” Jeannine named her daughter Fridatienne Itangakubuntu who weighed 1.3 kilos when she was born two weeks ago. MSF has worked in Burundi since 1992. In the town of Kabezi, Bujumbura rural province, MSF has been managing an emergency center for gynecological and obstetric care since 2006. The center offers neonatal services as well as an ambulance service transport system for women who are in need of emergency care. By introducing emergency obstetric care and a referral system, MSF has drastically reduced the level of maternal mortality in Burundi.