Pan African Burns Society conference in Addis Ababa (June 2017)

June 13, 2017
Richard Bendell

The Pan African Burn Society (PABS) held its biennial conference for 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 6-9th June. Following on from the first Francophone conference in Cote d’Ivoire in Abidjan in early 2015, the conference brought together over 80 burn care professionals from across the continent, including Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Togo, Tanzania, Niger, Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire and of course Ethiopia. This 3 day conference covered a wide range of scientific presentations and concluded with a day of Essential Burn Care training conducted by Interburns.

The programme covered a wide range of topics and areas of interest related to burn care and prevention in sub-Saharan Africa. The myriad topics covered included briefings on work to date in units in Kumasi in Ghana, Dakar in Senegal, and Addis Ababa, presentations on the design and layout of a burn unit, community-level prevention activities in Kenya and Tanzania, and a variety of clinical topics including surgery, use of skin substitutes, and how to break bad news to patients in a compassionate way, among many others. Presenters included doctors, nurses, therapists, public health professionals and NGO workers. PABS also elected a new President (Dr Nikki Allorto of South Africa) and executive committee to take the Society forward over the next 2-4 years. The next PABS congress will be in South Africa in 2019.

Members of the Interburns team presented on work by the NGO since early 2015, including programmes in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nepal, India and the West Bank. This also touched on the setup of the new Centre for Global Burn Injury Policy and Research (CGBIPR) at Swansea University and the plan for a large joint research project in collaboration with Interburns. The lead for the Advanced Burn Care (ABC) Nursing training programme presented on this module and its delivery in Bangladesh and Ghana in 2016 and 2017 and planned delivery in Nepal and Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019.

The team also visited and conducted assessments of the two main burn units in Ethiopia at Yekatit-12 and AABET hospitals, providing a baseline for ongoing capacity-building and quality improvement at these two crucial services. The team also met with representatives of key services at the Federal Ministry of Health to discuss a broader national strategy to improve burn care and prevention across Ethiopia, based on findings from a previous Interburns visit in 2015. The EBC training on 9th June was delivered by a mixed international faculty to 43 participants, including 12 doctors and surgeons, 24 nurses, 3 therapists and 4 others including a nutritionist and several public health specialists.

Interburns would like to thank Dr Abiye Gebre Ab for all his superlative efforts in organising the conference programme and EBC training and Dr Richard Nnabuko, the outgoing President, for his support.  Interburns would also like to thank Hub Cymru Africa for their support and funding for the project in Ethiopia.