We brought you news about Val Smith-Orr OAM in December and are following that up with more information on the clinic she runs in Castillejos in the province of Zambales, Philippines. Triple B Care Projects http://www.triplebcareprojects.org is an NGO, (Non-Government Organisation) providing international standards of treatment and care for children and adults with burns, cleft lip/palate and/or parasite infestation.
Triple B currently has two beds and one large mother and baby cot, with plans to upgrade to 4 or 5 beds plus a mother and baby cot. In an average year (unfortunately, the last year has not been “average” due to Covid-19), the clinic treats around 50 burns cases; 40 “other wounds” for example diabetic feet, venous ulcers and pressure sores; 20 cleft lip and palate cases, and up to 300 de-worming cases. This is all done with ONE Doctor and TWO nurses! Val, one of the nurses, is a specialist nurse, who completed her post graduate training at the McIndoe Unit, Queen Victoria Hospital, in the UK. The clinic specialises in children as a priority but also accepts adults with burns and other wounds. Exciting plans are also afoot to build a larger facility which will allow for more patients and in addition, better rehabilitation facilities. Opportunities will also be available for international burns Surgeons, Nurses and allied health personnel to volunteer (see website link above).
Val was in Australia in 2009 when she was put in touch with the Trust, who had heard about the work Val was doing at Triple B and felt the clinic would benefit from the ability the Trust would give her to seek advice from Consultants, as the Trust have every modality of medicine covered.
Val said “the SCT is super important because it draws on knowledge from very experienced Consultants and Specialists enabling them to share that expertise with countries who don’t have that experience available to them”.
Any interesting cases you can share? We helped a 12-year-old boy who had been electrocuted; the local doctors were planning to amputate both his hands at the wrist, stating it was to cut out the infection in the burns and that it would be easier to obtain hand prosthetics. Limb salvage is not on any care list here and neither is it possible to get hand prosthetics! The boy was a champion basketball player for his school and his village. Fortunately, a British colleague and former Orthopaedic Surgeon, was visiting the Philippines and managed to persuade the doctors to allow me to take care of the boy. He was transferred to our clinic. We couldn’t save ALL of his fingers, but he now has a pinch grip on both hands AND his whole palm and is back playing basketball again for the junior league!
How has the Trust helped Triple B Care Projects, Inc? SCT has helped us with funding, with medical supplies, with great advice from Consultants and Specialists who volunteer for the Trust, and we have formed a lasting friendship with Lord and Lady Swinfen, who are two incredibly special people.
How would you like people to help the Trust? Obviously if people could donate funds to keep it going that would be ideal. Additionally, let other volunteers working in developing countries know that they exist so that others can benefit from their expertise. It’s important to mention that not ALL advice can be strictly followed as there is a world of difference between medical practice in a developed country as opposed to a developing country; often there are very limited resources; but between our clinic and the Consultants and Specialists who we are referred to, we have become very creative, still using the expert advice but perhaps delivering it in a slightly different manner!
You can follow Triple B on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TripleBCareProjects Instagram triple_b_care_projects, and connect with Val Smith-Orr on Linkedin.
By Georgina Liley
(Georgina Liley is the eldest daughter of Pat and Roger Swinfen and runs the social media for the Trust. Georgina has been involved with the Trust since it’s inception and was a speaker at the 4th International Conference on Successes and Failures in Telehealth, Brisbane, 2004).