Improving paediatric burn care in Afghanistan (May 2016)

May 23, 2016
Richard Bendell


There are over 500 admissions a year to the burn ward of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH) in Kabul, the largest paediatric hospital in Afghanistan. More than 70% of burn injuries treated on the burn ward of IGICH are young children with small or moderate burns, that can still cause serious disability or even death without proper treatment.  The lack of skilled nurses and therapists in treatment of burn injuries combined with very limited resources for rehabilitation devices can often lead to disabilities from contractures, despite successful surgical treatment. There are very few burn units outside this hospital and as a result many patients from around the country are transferred to this busy national service.Picture1

To address this issue, Interburns is working in partnership with the IGICH and the Paediatric Burn Centre at University Children’s Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, to support and build the capacity of this key service to deliver good quality burn care. With support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), these three partners will deliver a comprehensive programme of training, assessment and quality improvement over an 18 month period, with particular focus on improving nursing care, rehabilitation and prevention of burn injuries in children.

The photo above shows many of the key people involved in the project at a recent planning meeting in Zurich in May. These include: from Afghanistan, Dr. Habib ur Rahman Quasim, chief of the burn unit at IGICH and Dr Wahid Majrooh, International Relations Director at the Ministry of Public Health; Dr Clemens Schiestl, Renate Pfann, Bettina Hafner and Natascha Birrer from University Children’s Hospital Zurich; and Dr Tom Potokar and Richard Bendell from Interburns.

Interburns would like to thank the Swiss team for their hospitality in Zurich for the recent meeting.