BURN UNIT, ADDIS ABABA
The main burn unit run by our Charity in Addis Ababa has developed gradually at the South Korean hospital Myungsung Christian Medical Center (MCM). From having just 4 beds, our bed capacity has tripled. At first our unit was designated the really poor without the capacity to pay for treatment. This priority still stands, and our charity is committed to offer free treatment to the poor. That said we receive patients regardless of their socioeconomic status.
CWBCF Burn Unit is currently staffed with two national doctors of whom one is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. We have four dedicated burn care nurses in our ward, one scrub nurse, one anesthetic nurse and one physiotherapy working part time. A professional seamstress provides us with pressure garments.
Most of our patients are admitted months to years after time of injury. Only a few are treated shortly after the accident. An increasing number of patients presents with traumatic wounds, infectious wounds and wounds from animal bites. Approximately 100-120 patients are treated pr year although we had a drop during covid. The activity is now back at normal pace as we are receiving an increasing number of extensive pediatric burns constituting a great challenge to our charity both professionally and economically.
We are very pleased to have reached a point where our unit is capable of receiving health personell from other local hospitals for educational purposes. This will definitely continue to be prioritized in the future.
BURN UNIT, ARBA MINCH HOSPITAL
In 2016 a surgeon working at Arba Minch hospital, nearly 500 kilometers away, reached out to CBWCF Burn Unit as his hospital didn’t have the experience or capacity to handle burn victims. This initiated a close relationship between the two parties. The aim was to establish a well functioning burn unit in Arba Minch. Head of the National Burn Center at Uppsala Hospital in Sweden, Dr Morten Kildal, was introduced to the idea in 2017 leading up to a formal agreement of cooperation between CBWCF and Uppsala. Dr Kildal and his team has greatly contributed to the emergence of a well functioning burns treatment program at Arba Minch Hospital. In 2021 Arba Minch had a capacity of 9 beds at their burn unit. At present there are 2 national plastic surgeons working at Arba Minch Hospital and a total of 8 burn care nurses. Future plans include raising facilities to host a complete department of plastic surgery, operating theaters included.
TREATMENT FACILITIES IN HAGERE MARIAM
Hagere Mariam is a town 450 kilometers south of Addis Ababa. As in most of the country this region had no competence whatsoever on how to treat burns. CBWCF established formal contact between health authorities in Hagere Mariam and Addis Ababa in 2015 aiming at raising awareness around burns and how to handle them. A great deal of recourses was then invested by our charity in order to reach out to this region. Two operating theaters became totally renovated and equipped with what was needed to perform adequate surgical procedures. Several nurses and health officers received training in Addis Abeba. Through the following years over 500 burn victims received surgical treatment which is nothing less than a remarkable achievement.
DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL OUTREACH
A recent armed conflict in the northern region of Ethiopia has created immense need of educating health personnel to deal with the humanitarian crisis following the conflict. Several university hospitals in this and other regions have reach out to CBWCF asking for assistance in dealing with the major challenge of burn injuries. CBWCF will try to make our best efforts responding to this challenge.
There is an overwhelming need to develop burn treatment programs and educate health personnel throughout most of the African continent. CBWCF has been fortunate to visit several African countries, including The Gambia, Senegal, Sierra Leone in the west as well as Somaliland, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda in the east. What is striking is that competence on treating burns and wounds is almost non existent, contrasted by the overwhelming number of hospital admitted patients suffering from wounds of different etiologies. On the positive side, the principles of treating wound from burns can be applied to the treatment of non-burn wounds. CBWCF has therefore been able to reach a great number of patients through its outreach activities.