Palestine to Ethiopia: treating serious burns injuries

Last Month, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) reported on the difficult journey of Gaza surgeon Dr Mahmoud Basal to attend a training in Ethiopia on the treatment of serious burns injuries, run by our partner Interburns.

Dr Basal was joined on the training by three health workers from the West Bank. The burns care specialists were Mohammed Hamadneh, a nurse from the MAP-supported Burns Unit at Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, Bilal Issa, a nurse supporting the Palestinian Ministry of Health to deliver burns care training, and Mohammed Qteit, a nurse from the MAP-supported Burns Unit at Alia Hospital in Hebron.

Israel’s permit regime restricts the free movement of many Palestinian health professionals – even between areas of the occupied Palestinian territory – so the training presented a rare opportunity for the four health workers to come together and share their knowledge and experience.

Throughout the week, the medics developed their understanding of Essential Burn Care and Basic Burn Care. They learnt about first aid treatment, burns assessments, and surgical management. The training also covered positioning and splinting, an important part of burns treatment which influences tissue length and helps to avoid a muscle contracture, a permanent shortening of a muscle or joint.

Upon return from Ethiopia, Shadi Zatara, MAP’s Senior Programme Officer in the West Bank, met with the West Bank-based trio to learn more about the training. “During the trainings, we met doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and trainers from other countries. We exchanged useful information about burns care, and discussed with them the challenges of burns care in the West Bank,” reflected Mohammed Hamadneh. “We were introduced to the difficulties of burns care outside Palestine, as well as how to assess and treat burns patients. We are now applying this knowledge in the unit at Rafidia Hospital.”

Bilal Issa was glad to have presented on the burns care training he helps to coordinate and deliver in Palestine. He benefitted from training which will help to develop a national Ministry of Health (MoH) led ‘training of trainers’ on Basic Burns Care in the West Bank during this first quarter of the year. This will enable the knowledge and information gained in Ethiopia to be transferred to his peers in the MoH, and during the rest of 2019 the course will also be delivered to non-health workers in the West Bank. Bilal also ran sessions on fluid management and first aid and led discussions on the difficulties of treating burns injuries.

Mohammed Qteit explained that the training had been helpful beyond the technical skills learned, helping develop attendees’ professional and team-working skills, too:“The training helped to improve my knowledge of burns care. I presented my arguments and ideas clearly and was open to others' points of view.”

“The group discussions and activities helped me to practice my interpersonal skills, such as dealing with conflicting opinions within my team. The course also gave me the opportunity to meet other people who share my interests and exchange ideas and knowledge about burns care.”

If you would like to support MAP’s burns care work in Palestine, please donate today.

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