One World, One Standard for Burn Care: Nursing's Role in Global Health
In 1978, a landmark United Nations conference in Alma-Ata declared the goal of health for all by the year 2000 (WHO, 1978). Yet, today significant disparities exist between the health care afforded individuals in resource-limited countries and those in the industrialized world. Nursing, as a global profession, can become a powerful force for change so that better health is universally achieved.
Problem/Background: This project started with a partnership between a burn center in the United States and a pediatric burn center (Burn Center) in Peru, a country in which it is estimated that 15,000 children endure burn injuries each year (Huby-Vidaurre, 2016). Most are under the age of five, and suffer scald burns from pots with hot liquids left to cool on the floors of their homes. Pressure garment therapy (PGT) is a major treatment to reduce scarring for pediatric burn survivors in the United States since the early 1970s, but is unavailable in Peru.
Strategy: The Doctor of Nursing Practice project leader worked with the Burn Center team to develop a plan to use PGT as an intervention to address disfiguring scarring among pediatric burn survivors, utilizing the twinning approach.
Methods: This quality improvement project involved interdisciplinary collaboration and international partnerships between resource-rich and resource-challenged nations. Obtaining supplies needed to promote PGT in Peru required cultivating relationships with many people in the United States, including translators and interpreters to assist in overcoming language barriers among the participants, manufacturers and distributors of pressure garments to donate fabrics, and people regularly traveling to Peru who transported the donated PGT materials. It also involved working closely with the Burn Center team on developing a culture conducive to conforming to an international standard of practice.
Results: Resources were successfully leveraged to build a sustainable PGT program for all pediatric burn survivors in Peru.
Conclusion: Forging partnerships between the U.S. and Peru utilizing the twinning approach led to implementation of PGT, allowing for a best practice standard of care in the treatment of pediatric burns.
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