BUJUMBURA February 24th (ABP) – The Swiss Cooperation to Burundi officially handed over on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, to the graduate school of the University of Burundi, educational material consisting of videoconference material and psychological test material. That activity took place on the campus of the graduate school of the University of Burundi in the presence of the Vice chancellor of the University of Burundi, Professor Audace Manirambona, a check on the site by ABP has revealed.
The granting of that educational material is part of the implementation of the mental health program that the graduate school of the University of Burundi has been running in partnership with the Swiss Cooperation since April 2022.
The partner institutions of the graduate school in that program are higher education institutions involved in the field of mental health. These are the Light University of Bujumbura (ULBU), the Hope Africa University, the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Burundi and the National Institute of Public Health (INSP).
Nils Krauer, Deputy Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office to Burundi, pointed out that this equipment is material to improve the clinical teaching of psychology and psychiatry. In a broad sense, he said, this equipment will allow easier access to the most qualified teachers in the world. Switzerland will be delighted in a few years if the laureates of those institutions will have acquired a level which will allow them academic and professional mobility in the region and in the world without questioning, he specified.
Mr. Krauer took that opportunity to reiterate Switzerland’s commitment to support and accompany the government of Burundi through its programs and projects. This support, he indicated, is manifested, among other things, through the conflict prevention and citizen participation program, the media support program, the multi-sector fight against malnutrition program, the vocational training program, the production of building materials, to name but a few.
According to the director of the graduate school of the University of Burundi, Professor Juma Shabani, in addition to that teaching material, those higher education institutions which intervene in the field of mental health will benefit from professors whose specialties do not exist in Burundi. The implementation of that program will also focus on the harmonization of training programs in clinical psychology at the bachelor’s and master’s level until the accreditation of the harmonized program by the national commission for higher education, he said.
Also, as part of the implementation of that program, 24 doctors have already been sent for doctoral training in Benin, Senegal and Tanzania to follow their training in psychiatry. Thus, within 4 years, Burundi will have 24 doctors specializing in psychiatry while it currently has less than five. That program, which is carried out by the graduate school of the University of Burundi, also ensured the organization of one-month internships in mental health for 59 doctors and 450 medical technicians.
That program will also support the training of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at the University of Burundi, the Light University of Bujumbura and at the Hope of Africa University, and Bachelor’s degree for the psychiatric nurse sector at the National Institute of Public Health.
Professor Shabani also indicated that this program will establish in the medium term in Burundi a doctoral training program for psychiatrists and clinical psychologists with the assistance of partner universities with programs in that area.
In his speech, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Burundi congratulated the management of the graduate school for the step already taken in the implementation of that program and urged them to move forward. He paid tribute to Switzerland for its multifaceted support, inviting the institutions that have just benefited from that equipment to use it effectively and efficiently.
As a reminder, on March 30, 2022, on the occasion of the world Day of bipolar disorders, the Association of – Psychologues sans Vacances – (Psychologists without Holidays), deplored the absence of the specialized training course in mental health in public health programs.
Note that for all intents and purposes that this ceremony was also marked by the signing of the partnership agreement between the graduate school of the University of Burundi and the partner institutions of the mental health program.