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Tag Archive: "conference"

The Art of Human Care

Narration by: Shariq Ali
July 5, 2011
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Brecon Beacon National park was the perfect venue for the European Club of Paediatric Burns meeting hosted in 2009 by Interburns in South Wales.

It was a wide-ranging participation of 55 experts from not only Europe e.g. Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Poland etc  but also from USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, India and Bangladesh. Although most of the delegates were typical of such conference participants i.e. highly focused, very successful burn experts  but amongst them were few who are a special source of inspiration for me personally. Let me introduce two of them to you.

Fiona Proctor is an occupational therapist from Liverpool . We (Interburns) met her in Dhaka in the corridor wards of Dhaka Medical College Hospital Burns Centre. Corridor wards mean no available beds but patients are nursed on the floor in their moms lap and the relatives are the main carer.

Fiona was surrounded by smelly and sick burn children of all age groups. Most of the time as she was working almost the entire day and sometime at night as well as her accommodation was also in an adjacent dark side room of this corridor with no electricity or running water etc. She spent four months there in that corridor.

I have spent 18 years of my professional life with burn patients and burn wound smell and suffering is a business as usual for me.  But at that moment, in that corridor, there was so much accumulation of innocent and helpless suffering that I just wanted to cry like a baby.

Fiona is an artist and her art is human care.  While working in Dhaka, she discovered that her training as an Occupational Therapist and the expensive techniques and equipment she used in United Kingdom is not sufficient and relevant to alleviate the disability and pain here.  The challenge in front not only required the scientifically trained mind but also a warm and caring heart. She had the both.

In order to cater the need of her poor patients, she went to the local hardware shops in the slums of Dhaka and bought drain pipes of different sizes in few takkas and with her scissor and innate brilliant creativity, developed very effective and extremely low cost splints that helped her to minimize the contractures and related suffering of her patients. The effort was in accordance to her passion and dream to minimize the human suffering!

Dr Kishore is 35, a hindu family man, born and educated in Dhaka , his salary is 15000/= takkas per month. He works in the same hospital for the last ten years where Fiona worked for four months. His hospital has 100 beds for Burn patients and the day he left for this meeting there were 229 in patients, mostly in corridor wards.

Kishore`s visit for this meeting was fully funded by Interburns and Interburns in collaboration with Zürich Children Hospital , have offered Kishore a four months Fellowship in Switzerland with free travel and accommodation and a  modest monthly allowance during his stay.

Is McDonald’s a solution for African hunger?

Narration by: Shariq Ali
June 29, 2011
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Recently I was invited to give a talk and share our (Interburns) experience of imparting surgical training in Africa. The venue was the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) in London and the occasion was a joint meeting of Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI) and The College of Surgeons in East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA).  Representatives from many global organizations active in surgical training were also present.

RSM is located in Wimpole Street London and was originally founded on 22 May 1805 in the era of King George as an institution that would bring together branches of the medical profession “for the purpose of conversation on professional subjects, for the reception of communications and for the formation of a library”. It adopted the current name of Royal Society of Medicine in 1907

After the talk, I was sitting in the expert panel along with other speakers and the discussion was about finding the ways to impart effective surgical training in Africa. There was a remarkable enthusiasm on the floor and a variety of opinions came through. It was not at all a surprise as it was a gathering of global elites on the subject of surgical training.

Few experts from USA were understandably proud and very vocal of their model of trauma training. My point was simple. Although universal principles of good practice transgress the boundaries of time and space, but meticulously prepared protocols and thoughtfully designed standards and gradually developed piles of knowledge over the years in the west cannot be applied unchanged in the developing world scenario because of the simple fact that the perspective is different.

It requires flexibility and contextual understanding of the working environment where this knowledge and skills and attitudes are going to be ultimately practiced.

Food is understandably an answer to hunger.  But Mc Donald`s is surely not the best choice for the hungry African population in Sub-Saharan desert!

Value People, One more child in Jinja, Uganda

Narration by: Shariq Ali
June 7, 2011
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Source Cafe was the only decent place we (Interburns) found to have some reflection about the days activity over a cup of coffee in the small town of Jinja, 75 km away from Kampala, the capital of Uganda.

We ordered what we wanted and were about to be served and just began the conversation. Here comes a red softball and the two children chasing after. One was a local african street boy of about three years of age but the other boy was a European boy of almost similar age but with golden hair and blue eyes. In this remote town of Uganda, the friendship looked a bit odd.

Within few minutes we managed to uncover the mystery when RuthAnn, our Interburns colleague, introduced us with a family of Harry, Hen  and their 2 and a half year old son and a six month old gorgeous baby girl. They were accompanied by few local street boys.

We decided to come outside of the hall and sit on a table outside the restaurant just beside the main road of Jinja town and conversation began.

Harry and Hen runs a charitable organization in Jinja called  One more child . Their home is shared by thirteen orphans who lived with them permanently and in the evening, their house is a dressing room of a football club of street boys of Jinja.

On every Tuesday they serve a free meal and everyone on the street is welcome. They feed them, educate them and provide them mentoring of human values by organising schooling and playing football with them.

People like Harry and Hen are the source of inspiration for me. I thought I will share the glimpse of human decency with all of you. Attached are few photos of this encounter and our trip to Jinja.

Their website is www.1moreChild. org

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