Dr Einar Eriksen and his family traveled to Ethiopia for the first time in 1987. He grew up in the same country during the 50s and 60s as the son of missionaries. After 6 busy years serving at Yirga Alem Hospital in southern Ethiopia, he returned to Norway in 1995 for further studies in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery with the aim to work for better Burn Care in Ethiopia. The family returned to Ethiopia in 2000. Dr Eriksen became involved in developing the first Burn Unit in the country at Yekatit 12 Hospital in Addis Ababa, – a joint venture between the Ministry of Health and Haukeland University Hospital (HUH) in Bergen, Norway.
Mr Hans Petter Schjelderup was badly injured in August 2005. During a job assignment in Harstad, his home town in northern Norway, he sustained a severe high voltage injury when 22000 volts went through his body. He ended up spending several weeks at the Burn Unit of HUH in Bergen, spending many days tied to a ventilator and going through a number of surgical procedures. Dr Eriksen had just returned home from Ethiopia and was in charge of Mr Schjelderup’s treatment. A photo of his 2 sons caught Dr Eriksen´s attention as one of them obviously looked like an Ethiopian child.
Long story short, – this encounter was the beginning of what was to become a charity serving burn victims in Ethiopia. Children’s Burn Care Foundation was established by Dr Eriksen and his wife Lillian-Rose Eriksen in 2007, later to change it’s name to Children’s Burn & Wound Care Foundation (CBWCF). Mr Schjelderup serves as chair of the board and is spending all his time fundraising for the charity.
CBWCF started clinical activities in Ethiopia in November 2008. A Burn Unit was gradually established at the Myungsung Christian Medical Center in Addis Ababa. To date, 2000 patients have received life saving and life changing medical treatment. The majority – being among the poorest in the society – have received their treatment free of charge.