Burn injuries cause massive suffering and disability globally, but many of the disabilities they cause are preventable with cheap and effective treatment.
One of the reasons burns are so devastating an injury is that they destroy the body’s first layer of defence: the skin. When a burn wound is left to heal naturally, the skin around a wound shrinks and contracts, as the body tries to close the gap in its defences. Unfortunately, this often results in a burn ‘contracture’, which fuses one part of the body to another: a foot to a leg, so a child cannot walk; an arm to the torso, so they cannot use their limb; their head to their chest, so they cannot raise their head. 70% of burns affect children.
Simple surgery and skin grafting can make a massive difference and save a burn patient from long-term disability by preventing a contracture from forming or ‘releasing’ one on a partially healed patient. Effective after-care, rehabilitation and therapy are also vital in enabling a patient to regain full use of their limbs. Working together, a well-trained team of surgeons, nurses, therapists and other specialists can achieve good results for a patient who might otherwise suffer lifelong pain, disability and stigma from a burn.
Interburns works with local partners in Asia and Africa to train and equip local staff to provide safe and effective burn treatment and care, despite limited resources.