Volunteer stories

Fiona Procter, Burns Therapy

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Volunteers play a vital role in supporting the work of ASTI and its partners, building the capacity of local medical practitioners to provide acid survivors with the treatment and expertise they need to rebuild their lives. Fiona Procter has been volunteering for ASTI since 2007. Her story begins in Bangladesh in November 2007 during her time as a volunteer at the Government-run Burn Unit at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). It was here that she developed techniques for treating patients using locally available resources. The method of fabricating splints from drain pipes, essential for the prevention of contractual development, was developed and then transferred to the staff at Acid Survivor Foundation-Bangladesh, which she also visited and volunteered at.

Having gained a better understanding of the working of ASF-B, Fiona returned to Bangladesh in early 2008 to assist local physiotherapists. She participated in workshops teaching essential techniques to both physiotherapists and pressure garment workers. Fiona also gave tutorials to physiotherapists and physiotherapy students from a local college, and assisted in producing teaching and training material on the crucial importance of therapy following an acid or burn injury. Such material has been fundamental in helping develop best practice in Bangladesh and providing educational material to share with other professionals.

Fiona has also been involved in the training programs given to ASF staff via ASTI’s partnership with Interburns, running workshops on positioning and splinting. Drawing on her experience of treating burns patients using locally available resources and the training materials developed in Bangladesh, Fiona accompanied ASTI surgeon Dr. Ron Hiles to the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) in Phnom Penh. In Cambodia Fiona assisted in formal teaching lessons on the nature of burn injury, the process of healing, and necessary treatment techniques. She was able to transfer her skills to the therapists at CASC, who welcomed the opportunity to learn from Fiona’s experience and gain further knowledge.

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In 2009, Fiona travelled to the Acid Survivors Foundation Pakistan, in Islamabad, where she spent time sharing her expertise with local medical staff and gave workshops to acid survivors on producing their own pressure garments using locally available resources.

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As Fiona’s story illustrates, ASTI plays a vital role in sending specialist volunteers to our in-country partners, building local capacity to treat and support acid survivors using locally available resources. Fiona’s training sessions on the importance of early therapeutic intervention have been incredibly successful in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan. She has demonstrated how basic, simple treatment can have an enormous impact on the lives of acid survivors.

ASTI is extremely grateful to Fiona for sharing so much of her time, experience and expertise with us.

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