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We have active, sustainable projects running annually in 6 countries. With many more projects in the pipeline, we’re making great headway towards our goal of increasing access to specialist reconstructive surgery services around the globe.

September 2018 – Nigeria

In September 2018, a BFIRST team in collaboration with the Interburns charity visited the National
Trauma Hospital in Abuja, Nigeria to run a comprehensive 3-day Burns Course. This was the second
time a course had been held here. The course consisted of lectures, small group discussions with practical sessions and input with a lecture from a Nigerian consultant discussing burn care in Nigeria. This allowed us to connect with the participants early on. There were 43 participants consisting of consultants, registrars, nurses and physiotherapists all involved in burn care from various units all over Nigeria. They enjoyed the practical sessions especially splint fabrication, and small group discussion on psychology, nutrition, dressings, and learning how we work together as a team in an MDT.

June 2018 – Kenya

On June 28th-30th, BFIRST was invited to participate in the Kenyan Society of Plastic, Reconstructive
and Aesthetic Surgery (KSPRAS) annual conference by Dr Joseph Wanjeri, the Chairman of the
Scientific Committee for the conference. Mr Wee Lam, Chairman of BFIRST and Mr David Bell,
Consultant Plastic Surgeon from Liverpool represented BFIRST on this trip.

January 2018 – Zimbabwe

During their time in Zimbabwe,  the team operated on paediatric hand patients for congenital hand
surgery, release of burnt contracture, syndactyly releases, first web reconstruction for an
Apert’s patient, a cleft hand, as well as a few duplicate thumb corrections. 10 patients were selected for surgery for congenital hand conditions and burnt contracture.  syndactyly releases, first web reconstruction for an Apert’s patient, a cleft hand, as well as a few duplicate thumb corrections.

December 2017 – Ethiopia

On 15 December 2017 Neil Choon and Matt Fell travelled to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to investigate the need for a collaboration in hand surgery. The trip was sponsored jointly by BFIRST and BSSH. This visit, consisting of 5 hospitals was to investigate the current situation of hand surgery in Ethiopia and explore the need for a collaboration.  There was enthusiasm, from both orthopaedic and plastic surgeons, for a collaboration in hand surgery to develop

December 2017 – Bangladesh

This was the third visit for Andy Williams, plastic and burns surgeon and Barbara Jemec,
plastic and hand surgeon and the first for Zoe Clift, Hand Therapist.  The in-patient count
was 497, still in the 100 bedded National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery (NIBP)
building. The BFIRST contributed both with lectures and with one-to-one training in theatres and on
the wards. Lecture topics included infection control and advances in burns care among

November 2017 – Vietnam

In November 2017, Professor Simon Kay and the Leeds team visited the Viet Duc Hospital,
Hanoi, Vietnam for their second trip. 120 patients were seen with mostly brachial plexus interspersed with children’s hand anomalies and a few general plastic surgery cases. Over the next few days,
the team operated on 6 adult brachial plexus cases, 4 children’s hand surgery cases and 5 OBP cases. They also undertook one free tissue transfer as well as a wide range of primary repairs, nerve transfers and a range of tendon transfers.

September 2017 – Vietnam

In September we visited Vietnam for the second round of ear reconstruction training.

October 2017 – Pakistan

BFIRST Member Muhammad Riaz and his team were in Pakistan back in October. A total of 70 cases were operated on performing a mixture of cleft lip and palate repairs – both primary and secondary revisions, cleft rhinoplasties and congenital malformations. Operating days lasted more than 10 hours per day. Each day began with a surgical ward round of preoperative and postoperative cases. An
outpatient clinic ran simultaneously with a high volume of cases assessed, with patients
travelling from all over Pakistan.

May 2017 – Cambodia

In May we visited Cambodia, where our project has resulted in local surgeons now performing their own operations for brachial plexus injuries, which allow the patients to use their previously flail arms again.

April 2017 – Ethiopia

In April we visited Ethiopia for the first time, in conjunction with the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, to establish a hand surgical project. The Health and Safety aspect of many jobs is not high priority and devastating hand injuries are common.

March 2017 – Nepal

In March we visited Nepal, to consolidate the training the local surgeons had achieved when they visited the UK for a microsurgical course.

February 2017 – Sri Lanka

In February we visited Sri Lanka, teaching on congenital hand and the management of vascular malformations. Approximately 1000 children a year are born with a congenital hand problem, and to date there has been no provision of surgery for these patients. We have enlisted the help of a radiologist to teach the local doctors how to embolize vascular malformations, which will help reduce their size and importantly reduce the blood loss at surgery, which can be fatal, if uncontrolled and is the major obstacle for surgery to vascular malformations.