The Pan African Burn Society (PABS) was founded on May 17th, 2004 in Cape Town, South Africa, as a scientific society whose members were almost exclusively from English-speaking African countries at the time. The First President of the Society was Dr. Elbie van der Merwe who was the head of the Tygerberg Hospital Burns Unit and the Secretary was Dr. Ina Steenkamp. Drs van der Merwe and Steenkamp were replaced by Drs. Richard Nnabuko and Okechukwu Onumaegbu as PABS President and Secretary respectively in November 2013.

The objectives of the PABS are:
  • to improve the overall care of the many burn victims in Africa
  • to ensure adequate training of practitioners that support it
  • to sensitize governments and target populations on burns in Africa - a scourge which requires effective public education and awareness.
  • to cooperate, with efforts of the international community, so that management of burns in Africa can be in line with the WHO's guidelines and recommendations which have accepted burns as a public health problem.
The activities of the PABS include among other things, the organization of regular meetings of scientific interest and the topics often covered at these conferences include therapeutic management, clinical and technological research, education and prevention. The choice of topics is often oriented on themes of common interest to developing countries where difficulties are often similar but with variable severity in different countries. In addition, these conferences provide participants with highly specialized teaching quality, through conferences updating of knowledge from courses taught by international experts.
The PABS encourages each country to create a local burns society for organizing regular seminars and training workshops at national levels. The PABS in 2005 became the last regional bloc to join the International Society for Burn Injuries - ISBI and Dr. van Der Merwe served as the regional representative for Africa on the ISBI Committee for about four years.
Since its inception, the PABS has held six (6) congresses:
South Africa
South Africa
Côte d'Ivoire

  • South Africa, May 2004
  • Egypt, January 2007
  • Nigeria, December 2008
  • South Africa, February 2011
  • Ghana, November 2013
  • Cote d’Ivoire, May 2015 (First to be bilingual in scope)
The 7th Congress of the PABS is scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from the 6th to the 9th of June 2017, and for the first time since its inception will feature a meeting location in East Africa.
InterBurns whose mission is in the training of burn care practitioners through interactive workshops practice in low and middle income countries of South East Asia and Africa became a partner with the PABS in November 2013 and has been the agents for organizing and training practitioners on the Essential Burn Care course. Interburns in collaboration with the PABS has set up a training centre for Africa at the Burns and Plastic Surgery Department of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana.