Academic journal article International Journal of Child Health and Human Development

F Actors Associated with Accidental Burn Injuries in Children Twelve Years and below Admitted at Chitungwiza and Harare Central Hospitals in Zimbabwe

Academic journal article International Journal of Child Health and Human Development

F Actors Associated with Accidental Burn Injuries in Children Twelve Years and below Admitted at Chitungwiza and Harare Central Hospitals in Zimbabwe

Article excerpt

Introduction

Burn injuries are emerging as an important largely preventable, growing public health problem in developing countries, gradually climbing the ranking list of causes of mortality and morbidity. Every year over 300 000 people die from bums. In addition, millions of people are disabled and disfigured by severe bums (1).

Globally paediatric bum injuries occurring within the home are the third most frequent cause of injury and death among all children from birth up to the age of nineteen years. Statistics on bum injuries are often fragmented when available as many bum injuries often go unreported if they are considered minor. This underestimates the severity of the problem. Despite global acknowledgement of bum injuries as a major public health problem, many Countries have given it limited attention. This is due to limited resources and co-existence of other competing health problems e.g. HIV/AIDS (2,3).

Thousand survivors have to live with permanent disabilities. This is experienced even more by children as they grow into adolescents and adults with permanent physical and sometimes psychological scarring caused by an accident that occurred in childhood (4).

In Africa approximately 99% of the bum injuries in children occur within the home (4). In Zimbabwe bum injuries account for an estimated 37.5% of hospital admissions and contribute 15% of the total deaths annually in children fourteen years and under (5). However relatively little policy formulation and intervention work on bum injuries has been reported (6,7). Much of the intervention strategies on bum prevention in Zimbabwe have been on provision of health information and education material to public health institutions.

Since 2005 paediatric bums continued to account for over a quarter of accidents occurring at home, leading to hospital admissions at Harare and Chitungwiza Central Hospitals (see table 1). In 2008 bum injuries accounted for 35% of injuries occurring at home leading to hospital admissions in the paediatric ward at Chitungwiza Hospital and 31% at Harare Central Hospital. In 2009 paediatric bum injuries accounted for 41% of injuries occurring at home leading to hospital admissions at Chitungwiza Hospital and 38% at Harare Central Hospital.

A study was carried out to determine factors associated with bum injuries in children aged 12 years old and below. Specific Objectives were to describe occurrence of bums by time, place and person, to determine causes of bums among admitted children, to assess severity of paediatric bums, to assess bum prevention measures taken within the home, to determine risk factors for bum injuries.

Methods

A matched 1:1 case control study was conducted at Chitungwiza and Harare Central Hospitals. Cases and controls were frequency matched for place of residence. A case was a child twelve years and below admitted with bum injuries occurring at home between 1st May 2010 and 31st July 2010 at Harare and Chitungwiza Central Hospitals residing in Chitungwiza and Harare. A control was a child twelve years and below admitted for other medical conditions at the same institutions during the study period residing in the same neighbourhood as the case.

Assuming overcrowding was the most significant risk factor in bum injuries occurring in children twelve years and below with an odds ratio of 2.2 (8) and that 61% of bums in Zimbabwe occur in children twelve years and below (9), using a case to control ratio of 1:1 at the 95% confidence interval and 80% power, a sample 134 cases and 134 controls was computed.

Cases were recmited prospectively upon consent as they reported to the paediatric wards at Chitungwiza and Harare Central Hospitals for treatment. Controls were selected prospectively from children twelve years and below admitted for other medical conditions and staying in the same neighbourhood as the cases.

An interviewer-administered questionnaire was administered to consenting caregivers of cases. …

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