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Paediatric burn injuries: a hospital based study in Uganda
  1. M Nakitto*,
  2. R Lett
  1. Correspondence Injury control center – Uganda, Makerere Medical School, Mulago 256, Uganda

Abstract

Introduction Burns are one of the most devastating household injury. In Uganda, burn injuries account for 11% of all childhood injuries. The study objective was to determine demographic characteristics, severity, first aid treatment and outcomes of childhood burns in Uganda.

Methods Secondary analysis of hospital surveillance data from five representative regional hospitals was done. Data were collected over 12 months (August 2004 to July 2005). Individuals (0–16 years) were included over a 12 months period. A registry form was filled by trained health workers at emergency units. Frequency analysis was done.

Results 380 children were included with the central region registered more patients (44%). Five and under patients constituted 45%. Ratio of male to female was 1.3:1. Over 50% of patients had a serious injury. 88% of the children burned in their own homes in spite of a adult presence (83%). Majority of the children (54%) were burned while playing. 16% of burn injuries were reported intentional. Scalding by hot fluids (73%) was the common cause of burn injury. Over 50% of the patients were reported with serious injuries on upper extremities. Over 70% of children were given incorrect first aid treatment at home while others received none. 55.8% patients were discharged home by 2 weeks.

Discussion and Conclusions Burn injuries mainly affects children 5 years and under. Home-based prevention can reduce burn injuries in that age group. The intent behind burn injuries requires further investigation.

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