These are short term projects that are usually 3-6 months long and are not restricted to any specific topic or methodology, as long as they fit within the overall objectives of the programme. They are a great way to be flexible and respond to new partnerships that developed during the project or other opportunities that arose.

The flexible research projects were carried out across a range of low to middle income regions.

Sierra Leon Survey

This project gathered contextual and background information on the epidemiology and aetiology of burns at the community level in Bo region of Sierra Leone. It also investigated community knowledge, attitudes and practices in relation to burn prevention and first aid treatment of burns.

Sierra Leone, highlighted Bo region

Online learning in LMIC health care

This research project considered the barriers and facilitators of effective digital training for health professionals in low and middle income (LMIC) countries. Following an initial research study looking at challenges and barriers to digital access in Bangladesh and Nepal, an online version of Essential Burn Care has been developed and evaluated by end users. As part of our initiative for nurse led research capacity building the use of a digital classroom to maintaining contact with participants abroad and to enable remote engagement with course materials was also trialled. The outputs of this research project included the online course in Essential Burn Care, a research publication on effective online learning for LMIC health care professionals, and a digital strategy document for our own project.

This study proved particularly useful during COVID-19 restrictions when the Centre was forced to revert to online teaching as many others globally. From Nepal, 65 medical students from Kathmandu Medical College were able to continue their training in Essential Burn Care by making use of the online resources. In addition, the project is now working on online versions of other workshops as well to provide sustainable and long term resources.

Barriers to capacity building

A specific research component has been added to the nurse led research capacity-building project in order to investigate barriers to implementation of QI projects in burns services in LMICs, which will inform guidelines to support nurses in undertaking QI research in these settings.

The additional budget enabled a larger and more diverse cohort to participate. This included 8 successful applications form 5 different burns units across Malawi and Ethiopia. All nurses participated in the research into barriers and facilitators that they encountered during their quality improvement projects in their burn wards.

Cooking racks for Mongolia

Mongolia has a particularly high rate of burns in children, with children from the country bearing the highest global paediatric mortality rate from burn injuries. Professor Masao Ichikawa, from Japan, has designed and developed a kitchen rack suitable for cookers in gers, with the aim to reduce burns by raising the cooking pots, thereby raising the pots off the floor and making them less accessible to children. As a Flexible Research Project, CGBIPR has collaborated with Professor Masao Ichikawa to run a pilot study in Ulaanbaatar with 50 households to assess their acceptability in the community and identify potential barriers and facilitators involved in changing cooking practices.

Traditional Mongolian Ger

This pilot study is important before wider dissemination in order to identify issues that may arise for this specific intervention and physical interventions for burn prevention in LMICs in general.

After an initial delay due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the project is now underway and the cooking racks have been introduced to gers. We look forward to sharing the results of this pilot project with you soon.

Flexible research projects enable the flexibility and ability to react rapidly to opportunities and needs that will arise throughout the course of the programme.

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