Developing Burn Nursing training for Africa and Asia (May 2015)

May 11, 2015
Richard Bendell

Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital is the main government hospital treating burns in Ghana. Based in Accra, it is the location of the National Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burn Centre and has a dedicated multidisciplinary team of surgeons, therapists and, of course, nurses. In May Interburns sent a small team of nurses from the UK and Ethiopia to work with senior nursing staff at Korle-Bu on the development of a Advanced Burn Care module for Nursing. This will be a highly practical and hands-on five day training course in burns for nurses, a course that simply does not exist in many countries in Asia and Africa at the present time.


9444_880263658719609_8231045330297006270_nKey nursing staff from Korle-Bu are pictured above (from left to right): Deborah Dowuona (Deputy Director of Nursing Services for Burns and Plastics), Ethel L. Odei (Deputy Director of Nursing Services for Burns and Plastics), Sheila Aboe Addison (Senior Nurse for Burns), and Doris Adjei Ntekor (Head Nurse for Burns).

The team met over the course of a week to agree the content and programme for the ABC Nursing course and discuss ways in which the course could be made into a highly practical training that will lead to real improvements in patient care. The course will use a range of teaching methods including small group discussions, practical demonstrations in the classrooms and working directly on the wards with patients, using the successful model of the ABC Rehabilitation training in Bangladesh in March 2015. Colleagues from the UK, Ghana and Ethiopia brought a diverse range of experience and skills to the development workshop.

11011045_879519868793988_2443532874005614898_nThe course will cover a wide range of topics, from anatomy and physiology of the skin and the pathophysiology of burns, through nutrition, dressings and infection control, to patient and family education, burn prevention, and service developent and evaluation (among many others). ABC programmes are aimed primarily at experienced staff who can take a leadership role in disseminating their learning to colleagues and staff in other services.


The team will work closely together over the next 6 months to develop the course content, training manual, evaluation and other key resources, ahead of delivering the first ABC Nursing programme in the first quarter of 2016. This initial training will be held at the National Institute of Burns and Plastic Surgery in Dhaka, Bangladesh as a regional workshop for nursing staff from Nepal, Bangladesh and selected African countries. A further training is planned for Ghana later in 2016. A meeting was also held at the Ministry of Health to discuss the development of a post-graduate training course in burns and plastic surgery for nurses, based on the foundation of the ABC Programme.

Interburns would like to offer its sincere thanks to Deborah, Ethel, Sheila, Doris and all the nursing staff at Korle-Bu, as well as director Dr Opoku Ware Ampomah for his support in developing this programme. We are also very grateful to Negat Woldehawariat and Hiwot Haile Mola who joined the team from Ethiopia, as well as Dominique Potokar and Diana Mehrez from the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery.