How we help
ASTI developed the concept of expert specialist teams to share knowledge and skills with in-country practitioners. Areas of focus will range from medical and psycho-social to legal and management support. The ultimate goal is for ASF staff to make up the majority of the teams, sharing their experience and skills across sustainable networks.
For the past ten years ASTI Trustee Ron Hiles has been volunteering his plastic surgery skills to the staff and survivors of the ASF in Bangladesh. Over time this work has expanded to cover Cambodia and India with the help of many other surgeons (including specialists at the Prince of Wales Hospital at the Chinese University of Hong Kong).
ASTI is now developing a more coordinated approach to this work and has started to cooperate with various other surgeons in the UK who volunteer their time and expertise to train local staff abroad. In doing this, ASTI is creating opportunities for local ASF surgeons to share their newly-acquired skills and expertise with others.
Physical Rehabilitation Team
Physical therapy plays a key role in the physical rehabilitation of survivors of acid attacks, and is required from early interventions through to long term rehabilitation. It is also multidisciplinary and requires the participation of nurses, physiotherapists, doctors and any other staff who are in contact with patients.
The Team is a collaboration of burn specialists from the UK who volunteer their free time to perform this important work. The visits made within the past year have had an immensely positive impact on the survivors they have treated and the staff they have supported.
Psycho-social Rehabilitation Team
In addition to the medical support required, most acid survivors face major psychological and social obstacles in returning to their communities. Most of the ASFs provide this support and ASTI is currently developing a Specialist Team in this area to act as an additional resource by encouraging knowledge sharing and skills transfer.
The first stages in the development of this team are under way with the visit of an ASTI Trustee to the ASF in Bangladesh. This will help us develop the new team and clarify the volunteer expertise required.
Management Support Team
The ASTI team, staff and trustees, have been actively supporting the in-country management of the ASFs. This has ranged from the initial set-up of the ASFs, to helping to address specific challenges faced by the managements and boards. For example, a trustee travelled to an ASF to help develop their fund-raising capacity while another trustee helped work through some board issues of another organisation.
We are now in the process of consolidating this work by creating a more consistent team. This will include identifying other outside volunteer experts who can contribute to this work.
Legal and Advocacy Team