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No serious burn injuries reported following pilot project in Nepal

News | 01/07/2020

The Centre, Interburns, and our Nepalese partner organisation Sagun have been working in partnership to deliver a pilot project in Nepal aimed at burn prevention.

Before the project was started there were over 20 serious burn injuries recorded within three districts in Nepal.

Last winter, there were none.

A serious burn injury can be incredibly debilitating, especially in regions where health resources are low and not readily accessible. Which is why this project made burn prevention the focus point.

The incredible success of this project is compelling evidence for community-led change. Kamal Phuyal from Sagun led the programme that included working with Female Community Health Volunteers, youth volunteers, students, and healthcare professionals to raise awareness of burn injuries and how to prevent them.

Students were chosen as one of the cohorts to educate in burn prevention because a lot of health and safety knowledge is taught in schools, which pupils then share with their families. In addition, due to the lack of health resources and professionals available to people living in remote areas of Nepal, a system of trained female health volunteers is active in the local communities. These women visit all households in the district and now also share their knowledge of burn prevention and basic burn first aid with local households.

By taking a participatory community-led approach, Sagun was able to effectively implement change. The team in Nepal organised visits to local hospitals, liaised with local governments, doctors, and nurses, visited burn patients, and invited health care staff along with them. This helped to ingratiate perspectives from the community with those of health care professionals and was key to the success of this project.

Kamal and his team also produced materials such as a burn prevention calendar and a regular burn magazine, which raise awareness through stories of burn survivors and community workers. A burn prevention and first aid manual to support learning and first response for local health workers were also developed. The feedback from the community and health staff has been positive and people have found the manual an effective method in burn prevention.

But the true success of this project has come from its use of local facilitators to implement change. In highlighting the burn problem to the community, local hospitals, and local authorities, the Sagun team has assisted the community in a lasting and positive change that has little reliance on external resources. Not only has this shown that burns are almost entirely preventable but also that preventing burns is possible, even in low resource environments. This is particularly encouraging for other low to middle income countries or conflict zones.

Scaling up this pilot project to international levels would no doubt pose difficulties, but with such life-changing influence, would make a monumental difference to people living in regions where access to adequate health care is a luxury.

To download this infographic as a pdf, please select the link below.

Nepal burn infographic

 

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