PSI began working in Burundi in 1990 – until political instability and civil war resulted in funding cuts and 1996 staff evacuation. However, its local affiliate (Population, Santé et Information) stayed on to continue raising HIV/AIDS awareness, promoting HIV prevention behaviors, and social marketing condoms. When staff returned in 2002, PSI/Burundi added malaria and diarrhea prevention to its platform.
PSI/Burundi uses mass communication and peer education to help improve access to condoms for all people. However, it uses specific strategies to target high-risk groups, including:
Young people, ages 15 to 24: PSI/Burundi’s behavior change communication (BCC) interventions go beyond promoting condoms, abstinence and mutual fidelity. BCC strategies also discourage relationships between older men and younger women (“cross-generational sex”) and encourage delayed sexual debuts. Since launching activities in Burundi, PSI has distributed about 20.5 million “Prudence®” condoms.
Military personnel: PSI/Burundi opened a voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) center within the Ministry of National Defense Headquarters in 2007 and added a mobile center in 2009. The center – called “Akabanga®”, which means confidentiality – staffs well-trained counselors and lab technicians who provide high-quality services to soldiers and their families. Together, both VCT venues have tested more than 2,500 clients.
PSI/Burundi also collaborates closely with the Ministry of Health to distribute free bednets along with routine immunization services at public health centers. PSI/Burundi also socially markets low-cost bednets.
And finally, PSI/Burundi is fighting diarrheal diseases – which afflict most children under age 5 – on several fronts, including:
Social marketing of oral rehydration salts (0RS) to treat diarrhea-related dehydration under the Orasel® brand. More than 1.1 million Orasel® sachets have been distributed since 2004.
Social marketing the Sûr’Eau® brand home-use water guard product – a solution of stabilized hypochloridrite sodium.
A hygiene and sanitation project to prevent cholera in six endemic provinces. PSI/Burundi’s BCC strategies help raise awareness and distribute Sûr’Eau® and ORS.