Experts discuss one world & one standard of care for burn injuries

International Society for Burn Injuries Congress held at New Delhi brought together experts from across the globe to discuss burn treatment, management and rehabilitation

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New Delhi: The 19th Congress of the International Society for Burn Injuries brought together experts from all around the globe to deliberate on burn treatment, management and rehabilitation in New Delhi.

This is the second time that an international conference of this scale took place in India, and on the topic most relevant for our country that registers a very high incidence of burn injuries (over 250 cases of burn injuries were reported by various hospitals in Delhi this Diwali alone in spite of the ban on crackers). The congress is aimed to promote the concept of one world and one standard of care for patients suffering from thermal injury. It also held training sessions on caring for the burn-injured patient in resource-restricted countries on 30th November.

“It is our privilege to host our Congress in India. ISBI is looking forward to share its learnings from around the globe as well as learn from experts here. The congress will press forward specialised burn care in resource restricted countries of the world,” said Dr William G. Cioffi, President, International Society for Burn Injuries.

“We at ISBI acknowledge that the models of burn care differ in various countries of the world, and cost effective treatment modalities and mechanisms need to be worked out in developing countries. The conference provides a unique opportunity to learn from other countries and world renowned experts who are committed to achieve one world and one standard of care for burn injuries,” said Dr Rajeev B Ahuja, Immediate Past President, ISBI & Senior Consultant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi.

A comparative analysis titled Burn Burden of the World was also released at the press conference to throw light on burn problems in developing countries vis-à-vis developed countries. It outlined the problem areas and ways to improve burn care in India. The problem areas were divided into Social conundrum, Economic factors, Shortage of trained manpower, and Poor infrastructure for communication & coordination. And the suggestions to address these included greater investments to address manpower and resource crunch; continuous efforts to realise National Program For Prevention of Burn Injuries; strengthening Central Registry of Burns; running prevention programs & awareness campaigns at the district level; regular teaching programs and perhaps a qualification in burn management; arriving at cost effective treatments; improving referral modalities; opening regional centers of excellence; and encouraging political support for the cause.

“There is a need to approach burn care as a multifaceted process, only then we will be able to create systems that are favourable for burn patients in our country,” added Dr Ahuja.

India registers about 700000 to 800000 burn admissions annually. The high incidence makes burns an endemic health hazard. Social, economic, and cultural factors interact to complicate the management, reporting, and prevention of burns. Research suggests women belonging to lower socio-economic groups are at a very high risk of sustaining burns. The commonest mode of burn injury is a flame burn. Most such incidents are related to malfunctioning kerosene pressure stoves.

Indian government has moved forward in terms of building health infrastructure for burn injuries prevention and management in the past two decades. Nevertheless, many hospital Prevention programmes need to be directed at behavioural and environmental changes which can be easily adopted into lifestyle in order to reduce the burden of this problem. Awareness programmes need to be executed with patience, persistence, and precision, targeting high-risk groups. General surgeons working in district hospitals form the nucleus of the burn care service and decide on referral procedures, and they need to be trained and involved in creating awareness on burn injuries and management.