|A global perspective on burn care|
|Friday, 01 March 2013|
“One world, one standard of burn care” was the focus at the 16th Congress of the International Society for Burn Injuries, held in Edinburgh from the 10-13 September 2012
The International Society for Burn Injuries (ISBI) hosts an international congress every two years with the purpose of bringing together physicians, surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists and research scientists in the field of burn care. This year’s meeting was held over four days in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and comprised 1200 attendees from almost 100 different countries. It was the first ISBI congress to be held in Edinburgh since the society’s inauguration in 1965.
The congress theme of “one world, one standard of burn care” captured the contrast between levels of care in low and high income countries and reflected the society’s goal of standardising the management of burns worldwide.
The presidential symposium focused on the importance of global prevention in reducing morbidity from burns. Previous successes such as changing the practise of ground level cooking in rural India and installing thermostatic heat valves to control water temperature in the UK were used to demonstrate the role of public health in primary prevention of burn injuries.
The plenary session on burn philanthropies included speakers from the WHO and put forth the controversial idea of improving ‘branding’ of burn care charities, to increase philanthropic interest in a similar way to successful cleft palate organisations like ‘Smile Train’ and ‘Operation Smile’.
Free paper sessions on burn rehabilitation demonstrated the difference in resources for burn care across the world. This comprised a vast array of presentations from those studying the efficacy of cutting-edge orthotics to community innovations such as the Sunshine rehabilitation centre in Taiwan, where survivors of major burns are encouraged to socialise and reintegrate in society.
Acute burn care was also explored, with a session on disaster management covering the lessons learned from the 9/11 and Volendam disasters. The symposium also featured a talk from Colonel Alan Key, the defence advisor for NATO Burns Group, who discussed the provisions made against a major UK burn disaster.
The meeting culminated in the AB Wallace lecture, sponsored by the British Burn Association who co-hosted the congress. This lecture is made annually by a pioneer in burn care and was given by Dr David Herndon, whose fluid and dynamic lecture on hypermetabolism in burn injury showed the culmination of a lifelong career of research in this field.
Congresses such as these not only allow specialists to exchange ideas and information, but are also vital for trainees in inspiring careers and capturing the zeitgeist of international research in the vibrant and global field of burn care.
Foundation Year 1 Doctor, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh