Care4Burn was initiated by Karianne W. Fjære in 2008 after ‘Faraja’, a 6 year old girl with life-threatening burn injuries, was hospitalized at Nkoaranga Hospital, at the foot of Mt. Meru in northern Tanzania, where Karianne worked as a volunteer pharmacist.
When Faraja was admitted, almost half of her body had third degree burn injuries. Faraja was burned because her clothes caught fire while she was playing together with her siblings in the family’s kitchen area, where food was cooked over open flame.
Because of her large and severe burn injuries, it was uncertain whether Faraja would survive without the correct treatment. In the area where Faraja lives, there was no specialized treatment of burn injuries.
“I had never seen anything like this before. My heart bled for her”.
Faraja’s story does not stand alone. In sub-Saharan African countries it is estimated that between 18,000 – 30,000 children under five years of age die each year due to burn injuries and the lack of specialized burn units that have access to surgical equipment and with healthcare professionals with medical expertise within burn wound care.
However, this does not have to be the final story. Burn injuries can be treated. Care4Burn works to strengthen local competencies within burn wound care and reconstructive surgery and to improve access to surgical equipment for modern burn care treatment.
Faraja and Karianne at Amani Primary School outside Arusha, in northern Tanzania. March 2014.
Faraja 6 years old. The day before her first surgery. November 2008.
The desire to help Faraja, as well as make a difference for other children with burn injuries and for those with handicaps, disfigurements and impairments from old injuries, inspired Karianne to establish Care4Burn.
In November 2008, Karianne began collaborating with plastic surgeon Einar Eriksen and his foundation Children’s Burn and Wound Care Foundation, based in Ethiopia. Since then, Karianne and Dr. Eriksen have travelled annually to Arusha and Moshi in northern Tanzania, where their main focus has been to treat children with new and old burn injuries and to increase local knowledge and awareness of treatment of burn injuries.
In 2011, Karianne and Dr. Eriksen engaged in a collaboration with the University Hospital Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi. Here, they have focused on raising the competence level amongst national healthcare professionals within plastic surgery and burn care treatment. Care4Burn, formerly known as the Moshi Burn Care Center, was officially founded as a humanitarian health care organization in 2017.
“Burn patients in developing countries is a big patient group left behind. They deserve our attention and help”.