IOM Supports Governments of Burundi, D.R. Congo in Strengthening Health and Border Management

Integrated Border Management, Migration Health

Bujumbura – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducted a joint training last week (26 November – 1 December) for border officials from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The training, held in the capital Bujumbura, aimed to strengthen the capacity of border officials to enhance public health preparedness and response at points of entry in both countries.

Participants included representatives drawn from various departments including health, immigration, border police, customs and quarantine services, working at the Gatumba/Kamvivira border or providing support in times of need.

The training, supported by the IOM Development Fund, is part of an 18-month project which aims to address cross-border mobility and public health implications, through promotion of effective public health measures in humanitarian border management.

Capacity strengthening of both health and non-health border officials is expected to enhance response to potential disease outbreaks and other health threats.

“This training is not only an opportunity to strengthen the capacity of frontline border officials on health and border management, it also complements the efforts already being undertaken by the respective governments to enhance health surveillance at points of entry to prevent, prepare for and respond effectively to any public health emergencies that may arise at points of entry,” said AJ Morgen, IOM Burundi Chief of Mission.

The training focused on migration and the right to health; humanitarian border management; protection of migrants in vulnerable situations; communicable diseases; healthy practices; and self-protection. It also addressed international health regulations with a focus on points of entry (POE); infection prevention and control; Integrated Disease Surveillance (IDSR) and first aid.

Trainers were drawn from IOM, the Burundi and DRC Ministries of Health, as well as Burundian Migration Services.

This week (3/12), aside from the training, IOM also provided basic equipment and material to support health surveillance at the border at the request of the district-level Ministry of Health in Isale.  IOM had conducted a prior validation meeting with the border officials to agree on a final list of the required equipment. Some of the equipment provided included first aid kits, observation beds, examination tables, stethoscopes, thermometers and various personal protective equipment.

“We are very happy to receive this equipment and material,” said Dr. Joël Nibigira, Medical Director of the Bujumbura Health Province. “They will go a long way in helping the border officials do their work more effectively.”

In the coming months, IOM will work with officials from both sides of the border to develop joint standard operating procedures and carry out a simulation exercise on public health emergency preparedness at the Gatumba/Kamvivira border.

While this project focuses on the Gatumba/Kamvivira border, IOM hopes to be able to scale up similar cross-border joint projects to other points of entry in the country in the future.

For more information please contact: Kerry Kyaa at IOM Burundi, Tel: +257 75400665, Email:

  • IOM delivers equipment and material to support border health surveillance at the Gatumba border, Burundi. Photo: IOM / Kerry Kyaa 

  • Participants re-enacting proper handwashing techniques during the training. Photo: IOM / Kerry Kyaa