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Tag Archive: "shobha chamania"

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.

A dream in the midst of an earthquake – The story of Interburns

Narration by: Shariq Ali
June 15, 2011
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In October 2005, a devastating earthquake struck the Northwest Frontier region and Kashmir in Pakistan. The worst of its kind for 500 years. The casualty figures were eventually assessed as 140,000 injured with approximately 80,000 deaths.

During this tragic time, I worked as a volunteer Medical Coordinator in the effected area for few weeks immediately after the earthquake.

Once the acute phase was over, one major problem quite obvious was the need for help from plastic surgical expertise in dealing with these severe crushing injuries causing extensive soft tissue damage that had occurred because of this massive earthquake.

British Association of Plastic Surgeons and IDEALS, UK decided to help the victims in collaborate with Pakistani Plastic Surgeons . Being a British trained Plastic Surgeon and  a close affiliate of IDEALS,  Professor John Beavis, the Chairman of IDEALS , asked me to coordinate this effort. I accepted this request as an honour.

After a lot of logistic effort, the official team of plastic surgeons finally came to Pakistan in December 2005 and undertook the delayed work on many of the plastic surgical problems that still existed as a result of the crushing injuries.

This was my first encounter with Dr Tom Potokar, a Consultant Plastic Surgeon from Morriston Hospital, Swansea. We immediately realized that we had a lot in common. After spending few days together during that time of extreme distress and tragedy, we had many chances to have long conversations. We mutually discovered our passion and common dream to reduce the global burden of burn related suffering. It was the beginning of a life long friendship!

In the background of this dark tragedy of massive earthquake, we found the shiny focus of a common purpose for the rest of our lives.

In summer 2006, When I was heading the largest Burns Centre of the country, IDEALS supported me to visit Swansea, the largest Burns Centre of UK and I had an opportunity to work with Tom and his team in Swansea and to further refine the idea of working together in future.

Even before meeting me in Abbotabad, Dr Tom Potokar was already working closely with Dr Shobha Chamania of Choithram Burns Unit of Indore, India. from the platform of European Club of Paediatric Burns (ECPB) on various aspects of Burn care in the developing world.

After my introduction with Dr Shobha Chamania by Tom and after our regular communications through emails on various issues around burn care, we three decided to launch our own organization to make a difference and to contribute in the area of global burn care. Finally we three, as Co Founders of Interburns, agreed to develop the philosophy, domain of activities and the course of actions for our global organization. This was the birth of INTERBURNS (International Network for Training, Education and Research in Burns). We three soon met in person in Brazil and then in India to further our friendship and cause.

More than 90% of burn injuries occur in the developing world and approximately 70% of these are in children. Lack of staff, training, and facilities, and the overwhelming workload, all hinder the provision of optimal care.

In order to improve the existing situation, Interburns is making various efforts. One of them is Essential Burn Care Course (EBC)

The course was inaugurated in Burns Centre of Dow University of Health Sciences in June 2007.

Today Interburns is a global organization having affiliations in 16 countries of the world and have trained 1189 Burn Specialists and burn care professionals through its Essential Burns Care Courses and Regional retreats in Asia and Africa and this global network is expanding from strength to strength.

The tragic situation of global burn care demands our immediate attention and Interburns is doing whatever it can to improve the situation because we believe that  tomorrow is too late!

In order to appreciate the Interburns work and its impact through Essential Burn Care Course, please click below to watch a brief video that outlines the effectiveness of its work horse, the EBC Course and Train the Trainers Course in Nepal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX_hu8Nt4Tg

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