Improving burn care in Ethiopia.

Challenges to burn care and prevention in Ethiopia include a high incidence, lack of access to services with suitably trained staff, over-centralisation and inadequate rehabilitation services. There is also a lack of robust epidemiological data on the incidence and aetiology of burns and, where data is available, it is often sourced at hospital rather than community level. WHO recognises that there is likely to be significant under-reporting of burn injuries at this level.

Interburns was invited by the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) to assess their National Burn Strategy and review burn services in 2014. An ‘Initial Assessment Report on Burn Care and Prevention in Ethiopia’ included recommendations on strategic planning, training and education, prevention, and research into burn injuries, many of which were able to be implemented in Addis Ababa’s Burn and Emergency Trauma hospital (AABET) while it was still under development from 2015-2017.

In 2017, Interburns delivered the EBC to 43 staff from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Togo alongside the Pan African Burn Conference (PABS) and carried out a more detailed evaluation of the AABET and Yekatit 12 hospitals using Interburns’ delivery assessment tools (DAT). The resulting analysis of the baseline and gaps in levels of service in relation to international Standards helped lay the ground work for further work:

Phase 1 (2015-6): Support the development of advanced level burn services at Yekatit 12 and AABET through assessment, training and capacity-building.

Phase 2 (2016): Undertake community-level surveys to assess incidence, knowledge, attitudes and practices and utilisation of current services.

Phase 3 (2016-7): Develop intermediate level services in key secondary cities and rural periphery through assessment, training and capacity-building.

Phase 4 (2017-20): Develop basic services and deliver national prevention programme.

An Essential Burn Care (EBC) ToT was held in October 2018; an Advanced Burn Care (ABC) Nursing in 2019; and development and delivery of the new Basic Burn Care (BBC) course and train the trainers in September 2019.

EBC and BBC are now being delivered in Amharic by local staff:

  • 4 EBC trainings for 100 staff, 2 in Addis Ababa at AABET and Yekatit and 1 each in Hawassa and Jimma.

  • BBC for 200 staff from 5 health posts.

  • ABC Surgery will be held in March 2020.

We would like to thank our partners at the FMoH and AMREF Health Africa as well as all the healthcare staff involved in making these trainings a success for the benefit of burn patients in the country.