Plastic surgery in developing countries - teaching the locals to teach themselves
Reconstructive Solutions The British Foundation for International Surgery and Training (BFIRST) is formed by plastic surgeons who teach local doctors in poor countries reconstructive surgery.
Reconstructive surgery allows people who cannot work and feed themselves or their families after trauma, cancer or because they are born with congenital abnormalities, to regain the use of their hands and legs, and give them a socially acceptable appearance, which allows re-integration in their local community.
We wish to empower the local doctors to treat their own patients long after we have left.
BFIRST is invited by the host country by word of mouth, we design a training scheme which focus on teaching the most relevant techniques to treat the most prevalent local reconstructive surgical problems within plastic surgery.
In Cambodia it is the reconstruction of the nerves supplying the function of the whole of the upper limb, because this is the most common injury in the 9000 motorbike accidents a year which result in useless arms and hands.
In Bangladesh 375.000 people suffer burn injuries each year, 1/2 are children and 18% of those sustain a permanent disability as a direct result of the burn - we teach the optimal treatment of burns.
In Sri Lanka 1000 children a year are born with an abnormality of the hand and until BFIRST started arrived there was no treatment available.
BFIRST currently has partner projects in Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and various parts of Africa including Sudan and Nigeria. The work is ongoing, and we hope that it will leave a legacy where it truly matters; and that is local doctors will continue to to treat their own patients and teach their own staff long after we have left.