Can African woman be treated in Canada?

Francine Nijimbere, the woman whose arms were severed in an attack, waits for treatment.

The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is exploring treatment options in Canada for Francine Nijimbere, a 26-year-old woman from Burundi, whose arms were severed in an attack by her brother-in-law.

“We continue to pursue the medical partner option, but until the medical partner commits, we can’t make an announcement,” said Cheryl Curtis, PWRDF executive director. “But there is positive indication that we can find a way forward.”

Ms. Nijimbere’s story, published in the May issue of the Anglican Journal, touched many readers, some of whom made donations for her and for programs that address gender justice issues. As of June, donations have totalled $2,500.

“We have been deeply touched” by the level of support for Ms. Nijimbere, said Ms. Curtis. “I know that people are anxious and…I want to assure them that there are small but clear steps forward.”

The process of figuring out the best treatment and rehabilitation plan for Ms. Nijimbere is “a lengthy process,” said Ms. Curtis. Medical records have to be assessed to see if she can receive prosthetics. If she can, then fitting of prosthetics plus extensive rehabilitation could take anywhere from three to six months and costs for these plus accommodation and transportation have yet to be calculated, said Ms. Curtis.

The option to bring Ms. Nijimbere to Canada was explored after the bishop of the diocese of Bujumbura, Pie Ntukamazina, informed PWRDF that Burundi has no treatment and rehabilitation facilities to deal with her kind of medical situation.

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