Sharing our expertise in burn rehabilitation to benefit burned children in Central America
It is estimated that 7 out of 10 victims of burns in Central America are children. Poverty, lack of parental supervision, lack of awareness about prevention and correct first aid methods all contribute to this high incidence of burns. Like adults, one of the biggest fights that burned children must wage during the process of rehabilitation is the one against scars that grow, contract, and eventually risk impairing physical functions. The best weapon that can help burn survivors win the battle against scars is pressure garments.
Pressure garments are not just “tight fitting clothes.” The process of adequately producing pressure garments is highly technical: knowledge about burn scar characteristics is necessary when evaluating the type of garment needed, precise measurements and calculations are necessary when making the garments to ensure the best fit and accurate pressure level.
Although hospitals and clinics serving burned children in Central America offer pressure garments, unfortunately, their personnel have not received systematic and professional training. In many cases, it is a seamstress who is in charge of the whole process for making garments, but she does not necessarily have an understanding of burn rehabilitation, or how pressure garments actually have an impact on scars.
That is why starting in 2011, Sunshine Foundation began a cooperation project with Asociacion Pro Niños Quemados de Nicaragua (APROQUEN), to organize annual training programs for seamstresses and therapists in Central America, with the goal of enhancing and professionalizing the pressure garment production techniques in the region.
During a one-week period, a team of therapists and seamstresses from Sunshine Foundation hold a training in Managua, Nicaragua, teaching pressure garment production techniques developed since 1998 to a group of five seamstresses and five therapists from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic. The goal of the training is not only to teach the production process of specific types of garments, but also to enhance the role of the seamstress within the burn rehabilitation team and encourage greater cooperation between the seamstress and the therapist.
The Sunshine team will be visiting Nicaragua from October 3 to October 9, 2013. The team is headed by Yu-Li SUNG, a Physical Therapist with over 12 years of experience in burn rehabilitation who is now heading the pressure garment services of Sunshine Foundation. She is accompanied by Tun-Ya CHUANG, senior Physical Therapist, as well as Chu-Ying WU, seamstress with 8 years of experience sewing pressure garments.
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