Plastic surgeon trains medical staff in Nepal to improve care for burn patients

Consultant plastic surgeon Sian Falder has been visiting Kanti hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal for more than a decade.

She has been specifically working with burn professionals to improve the quality of life for children with survivable burns and to reduce the number of fatalities due to major injury.

Ms Falder said: “Our team from Alder Hey has been working with staff at Kanti on many aspects of burn care and this has led to a reduction in pain and suffering for children.

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               Sian Falder - Consultant Plastic Surgeon

“Through regular exchange visits, we have strengthened surgical management, nursing and physiotherapy for children with burn injuries, to improve their quality of life following treatment and have seen improved patient outcomes.”

She added: “Staff from Alder Hey also benefit from working at Kanti by increasing their understanding of other cultures, improving their team working skills and building resilience.”

Burn injury is a significant problem in under resources countries, with children disproportionately affected.

At Kanti the most common cause of burns in children is scalds, followed by burns from open fires and electrical injury.

Children will often have to walk with their families for days over mountainous ground to reach Kanti, which is the only government funded children’s hospital in the country.

Even small burn injuries can prove fatal for children in Nepal compared to the UK due to little or late surgical intervention, poor nutrition and higher infection rates.

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Ms Falder has trained nurses, surgeons and physiotherapists in Essential Burn Care (EBC) in Nepal, which promotes good practice on the wards and theatres, improves dressing and surgery techniques; and promotes the use of more effective pain killers and psychological support to patients.

The EBC courses are specifically tailored for burn care in low income countries and delivered in partnership with Interburns. The team has also been instrumental in the formation of the Nepal Burn Society by bringing together burns staff from across Nepal.

The partnership between Alder Hey and Kanti Hospital has also led to nurses and surgeons from Nepal coming to the UK to take part in training fellowships with the team here in Liverpool.

Ms Falder said: “Training fellowships for medical staff from Kanti show our long-term commitment to the hospital and make a sustainable impact to children in Nepal.

“Staff who take part in these fellowships return to Nepal with an increased understanding in best-practice paediatric care, which they can share with their colleagues and fellow medics.

“They have now become trainers to staff who live in more remote areas.”

The collaboration between Kanti and Interburns means that burn care continues to be addressed at a regional and national level in Nepal and recognised by the Nepali Ministry for Health and DFID who have provided funding for Essential Burn Care.

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