Children Matter

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reducing childhood mortality

PICHEAM project aims to contribute in reducing childhood mortality in Burundi by collaboration between a team of paediatricians based in the United Kingdom and child health professionals based in Burundi.

PICHEAM has put together a package of clear, simple teaching materials to be used by visiting paediatricians. These are flexible, to suit different audiences, but are based on the WHO’s Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI), the Emergency Triage Assessment and Treatment course (ETAT+) and Newborn Life Support course. IMCI and ETAT were designed specifically for resource-poor settings.

PICHEAM is unique in that it is the first initiative to organise short 1-2 week-long regular placements, which allow UK paediatricians to teach, support and learn in a short period of time; facilitating local management and a sustained improvement. This allows many paediatricians to participate and should make long-term commitment to the charity more practical.

The doctors included in the project are senior registrars or consultants who are involved in service improvement in their own hospitals in the UK. They travel as a team with an experienced nurse with a good understanding of triage and paediatric early warning systems.

PICHEAM plans to develop a distant clinician support system where clinical cases can be discussed between professionals in different geographical sites to share expertise and improve the management of sick kids (telemedicine). This will be facilitated initially in country but once the program me is established, the same UK professional would continue to remotely support their counterparts.

PICHEAM also funds and loans teaching materials: mannequins, course manuals and the WHO's Pocket Book of Hospital Care for Children. Both the Burundian paediatricians and their UK colleagues continually evaluate the project by collecting mortality and morbidity data. Local clinicians are encouraged to conduct surveys on services they provide and learn from results.

This collaborative approach improves the way child health care is delivered in Burundi and ultimately leads to a reduction in childhood mortality.

Our Mission

The under 5 mortality rate (a measure of how many children die before their fifth birthday in a given country) remains unacceptably high in poor third world countries. Resources directed at vaccination campaigns, the provision of bed-nets against the malaria carrying mosquito, improvements in health infrastructure and many other interventions in the last decade have made a significant impact in improving child survival.

A group of child health professionals in the UK realised from experience that international organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) who have invested significant resources in setting up excellent guidelines aimed at decreasing childhood mortality often lack the means to deliver them.

They decided to set up a system whereby UK-based paediatricians make short but frequent missions to a chosen country to work alongside local paediatricians and other healthcare staff. The aim of these missions is to improve skills and knowledge to help implement evidence-based guidelines that will save children’s lives. In this way both sides should collaborate and benefit, with UK paediatricians exposed to a very different set of health challenges

The project will start in the east African state of Burundi and once established will be expanded to other neighbouring countries at a later stage.

our team

Q&A

Why Burundi initially?
Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world and has a high under 5 mortality rate.
How do you ensure the money donated is used for the cause?
This is not a money giving exercise. The project involves financially supporting paediatricians (flights, accommodation) to go and work/teach for a specified period of time.
Who designs the teaching material?
The PICHEAM team will set up simple, sensible teaching materials and will ensure volunteers going to Burundi are ready to deliver a good service.
What are the languages spoken in Burundi
Kirundi (main language), Swahili (in the Capital), French(Administration)
Can I volunteer if I don’t speak French?
We are aware that clinicians in Burundi are mainly French speakers. However they have a decent command of English. Being part of the East African Community, clinicians are always willing to learn and improve their English.
Can I be involved if I do not live in the UK?
Yes, you can. Please contact us to discuss your options.
What will I do?
You will be working in one of the three hospitals involved in the project in Burundi, alongside local staff to empower, guide and support them and build professional and institutional capacity, whilst developing and utilising your own clinical experience in poor resource settings. PICHEAM team will brief you before going and you will be given teaching material and guidance to simulation teaching. These will be a guide for you rather than a complete syllabus. We will discuss with you placement objectives and you will be expected to achieve them and do a summary report at the end of your two weeks period. There are 2 urban hospitals and one rural district hospital. You will be briefed about each of them and we will make our best to place you based on your preference.
How long will I go for?
We are asking you to commit to a 2 weeks period and it would be great if you can go back again during the project period.
When can I go?
The main departure periods will be the start or middle of March, June, September and December.
How much will it cost me?
PICHEAM will aim to cover flights, shared accommodation (house) and shared car. Burundi government has agreed to grant visa from the UK to our team members at no cost. You will spend your own money only on food, travel insurance and pre travel vaccination and tropical diseases prevention. The only mandatory vaccination for Burundi is yellow fever. Malaria prophylaxis is highly recommended. Please speak to your GP for details.
How can I obtain study/work leave?
PICHEAM does not have the power to negotiate a work/study leave. It is however understandable that you are going abroad to teach, improve the health of another nation and gain your own professional experience that will undoubtedly be beneficial for your career and work place. You should discuss this with your manager and PICHEAM will support you if this is required.
What training will I be given?
This project main focus is to interact with other clinicians in their day to day children conditions management and facilitate attitude changes, better management with adherence to WHO guidelines, encourage team working practice. Human factors in combination with proven cheap evidenced strategies and introducing problem based learning are key to success.
There are courses available on working in poor resource settings but attending these is not essential whilst they might be useful to you. The WHO pocket book of paediatrics is the book we will refer to and getting familiar with its contents is a must.
How do I apply?
Please follow the link on “contact us” and we will get in touch. You will be expected to explain your reasons for wanting to spend time overseas. We will answer to questions you might have.