In sub-Saharan Africa, diseases are rife but cure is rare. Where available, treatment is so
expensive that a high percentage of the population is unable to afford it. In almost all cases, disease outbreak, no matter how light is akin to a death sentence.
Thanks to many individual, organizational and multi-national efforts, much attention is now
being directed at helping the poor get some level of treatment.
One area that is still largely forgotten, under-reported and is wound care. Due to multi-faceted problems of lack of attention, lack of treatment facilities and competent personnel, routine and minor injuries become chronic leading to pain, severe loss of mobility, loss of limbs, and even death.
Charity Wound Care Foundation, Inc. – Free Wound Clinic
Charity Wound Care Foundation, Incorporated (CWCFI) is a 501c(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to provide free, qualitative wound treatment and public health education to residents of Southern California, the busy metropolis of Lagos and other locations in Nigeria through its Free Wound Treatment Clinics (FWTC). CWCFI is the brain child of Mrs. Joyce A. Williams, a nurse and Wound Care Specialist residing in the United States.
She was inspired to establish the wound care program and its FWTC when she visited Nigeria a few years ago. During the visit, she observed that there was a dire lack of care and attention to the treatment of acute and chronic wounds. She noticed that:
• Available hospitals are not equipped with the requisite materials and wound care
• These hospitals offer services too expensive for the general public to afford;
• Worse still, they use very inferior treatment Supplies.
That was when she made the decision to use her knowledge to help the less privileged people of her own country who suffer pain and poor quality of life almost unnoticed.
The journey has been challenging but rewarding. Some of the main challenges we have encountered include:
• Due to reasons of Social Stigma, Cost of Treatment and distance, it is difficult for patients with chronic ulcers who really need the service to come forward for treatment. So, people prefer to treat themselves first with inadequate doses of self prescribed medications including capsules and antibiotics in hopes that their wounds will get better. When that fails, they consult traditional witch doctors who administer ineffective herbs in very unsanitary conditions which inadvertently make the wound worse. By the time they finally seek medical attention, they are in very severe pains and the wounds in such a bad state that they require skilled medical attention, high doses of pain killers, antibiotics, and months of continuous care;
• Another challenge is that patients cannot afford the cost of continuous care after the FWTC;
• Another challenge is lack of general awareness about wound/injury prevention and management.
For these reasons:
a) CWCFI provide genuine medications and treatment supplies;
b) CWCFI also engage in providing public health education particularly on:
• Infection Control
• Self medication
• Poor personal hygiene
• Poor sanitation
• Poor nutrition, and
• Wound prevention.
The Foundation recruits a team of well trained, very competent and dedicated volunteers.
Objectives: CWCFI objectives include to:
• Provide timely follow-up treatments for injuries and wounds thereby reducing fatality;
• Provide qualitative and comprehensive wound care to patients who suffer from complications from diabetic ulcers, decubitus ulcers, pressure sores and botched surgeries;
• Reduce the incidence of amputations and loss limbs
• Provide trained personnel and genuine products for use in wound care treatment;
• Provide public health and safety education through the distribution of pamphlets to address specific diseases; radio jingles; conferences, and public address campaigns.
Causes of Wounds/Injuries
• Trauma from Automobile Accidents due largely to very bad roads, poorly maintained vehicles, reckless driving habits, drunk driving, and increased use of motorcycles for commercial transportation.
• Botched Surgeries;
• Unattended Surgical Wounds;
• Complications from diabetic ulcers and decubitus (pressure) ulcers;
• Work place falls and injuries;
• Falls at home due to old age and other ailments;
• Armed Robbery, Mob and Terrorist attacks;
Factors Complicating Wound Treatment
o Late, delayed, improper or no medical attention
o High cost of treatment.
o Poorly equipped health care facilities
o Inadequately trained personnel
o Social Stigma
Consequences of Improper Wound Treatment
• Loss of limbs
• Loss of mobility for extended period of time
• Low or no productivity
• Chronic pain
• Poor quality of life
• Premature Death