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Welsh nurses using their expertise to help burns victims in Bangladesh.

DEDICATED nurses have travelled more than 5,000 miles to Bangladesh to offer their expertise on how to treat and prevent serious burns.

The nurses, who work at Morriston Hospital's Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery, drew up a five-day course in advanced burn care and then flew out to Dhaka to deliver it.

Burns are more common in poorer countries where prevention and safety measures are limited.

The streets in Bangladesh are crisscrossed with high-voltage electricity cables and can result in burns which have a devastating impact on victims and their families.

The team of Welsh nurses volunteer with charity Interburns which aims to transform global burn care and prevention through education, training and research.

Staff nurse Dominque Potokar, whose husband Tom is one of the founders of the organisation, was joined by Sarah Reavenall, manager of Powys Ward, for the trip.

Their colleague, Danni Mehrez, who works as a staff nurse in the burns dressing clinic, was also heavily involved in preparing the content.

Dominique said: "Interburns has grown and we have got more people involved.

"Initially we were just teaching essential burn care but last year we developed a more advanced course and we then decided we wanted to create a course aimed at nurses."

Dominque and Sarah flew out to Bangladesh earlier this month and were joined at Dhaka's National Institute for Burns and Plastic Surgery by volunteers from Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Ethio-pia, Scotland and Nepal.

The team passed on their skills to 32 burns nurses who had travelled from all over Bangladesh - and from as far away as the West Bank in Palestine - to learn more.

Even though they have only been back in Wales for a few days, the pair have already received positive feedback about their training.

Sarah said: "There were a lot of practical elements to the course which is the best way to learn. "For instance, the nurses got to do dressing changes on real patients - how much more practical can you get? They loved it."

This was Sarah's second mission for the charity since she came to work at Morriston Hospital in Swansea 18 months ago.

Last year she joined Tom and medical illustrator Steve Atherton in Ghana as part of an Interburns team which included members from Nigeria and Nepal.

They worked alongside staff and patients at one of the Ghana's few specialised burns centres, sharing their skills and knowledge.

They also met politicians to discuss a countrywide strategy to improve burn care and prevention.

Sarah said: "Throughout my nursing career I have been interested in working abroad and I had heard of Interburns before I moved to Swansea so I got involved straight away. "I find it quite grounding and it does make you appreciate the NHS.

"I know it's not perfect but we are visiting places where they have nothing. They get on with it, they use what they have and they do it with a smile on their face."

To help them deliver the course successfully the group received help from the Dhaka-based Acid Survivors Foundation which handled arrangements at the hospital ahead of the nurses' arrival.

"Building up relationships out there is key to our success. The hospital we were at is considered a reference hospital but it is very overcrowded," said Dominique. "Over the years we have been involved there have been improvements but it is still quite shocking - even our colleague who was with us from Ghana was couldn't believe conditions there."

Now they have returned to Swansea, both nurses are determined to continue fundraising and promoting the work of Interburns.

Dominque added: "People here, patients and staff, have no idea how lucky they are and these trips are a good eye-opener. When you see what we have we have no excuse not be excellent."

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Article Type:Medical condition overview
Geographic Code:9BANG
Date:Mar 29, 2016
Words:646
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