In the year 1989, at the suggestion of the former President of the State Parliament, Erich Schneider, the St. Martin Hospital in Gengenbach (now renamed Ortenau-Klinikum) established a sponsorship with the hospital in Kayanza in the Central African state of Burundi. This sponsorship survived the civil war from 1993 to 2000 in Burundi.
The Kayanza Hospital is located in a rural area in northern Burundi. It is the only hospital in this province and serves approximately 500,000 people.
The hospital in Kayanza was renovated right at the beginning of the sponsorship and equipped with the necessary equipment so that it could function as a hospital. Functional facilities were created, such as power supply, water supply, operating room unit, obstetrics, x-rays, and a laboratory. Partners in these campaigns were the Bundeswehr, the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ), "Nordost-Wasserbedarf" in Crailsheim and "Helfen Direkt", Stuttgart, and many other donors and institutions. Among other things, the Sparkasse and Volksbank launched the “Donations instead of exchanging” campaign during the currency changeover and the proceeds went to this aid project.
A charity trip by the SEZ to Rome on the occasion of Pope Benedict XIV's 80th birthday raised around €80,000. The entire funds and further donations of €100,000 from SEZ and "Helfen Direkt" were used to completely renovate the hospital and expand it in 2007-2009. In the meantime, the MVZ of the Ortenau Clinic was able to contribute additional equipment when the practice was closed down or renewed, which made diagnosis and therapy in the hospital easier or even made it possible in the first place.
Employees in the technical, nursing, and medical areas from Kayanza also received further training in Gengenbach and at the Ortenauklinikum in Offenburg.
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