A profile of burn injuries among children aged 0-12 years at the Black Lion hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1996-2001)
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Millions of patients with burns require medical attention each year. Impairments, disabilities and handicap due to burn injuries among children are increasing. One possible reason could be that burn injury prevention were not given as much attention as infectious diseases such as leprosy, and tuberculosis (TB). The purpose of the study was to compile a profile of burn injuries among children aged 0-12 years, who were treated at the Black Lion Hospital (BLH) between 1996 and 2001 in Ethiopia. A retrospective, quantitative study design was chosen. Data was collected from the hospital records of 250 children seen with burn injuries. Clinical data, such as the cause and severity of the burn, and socio-demographic data such as the age of the child and his or her caregivers, their socio-economic status and educational levels, were captured. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses of the data were carried out between socio-demographic variables and the burn injuries. The Chi-squared statistical test was used to identify associations and differences between selected variables. The major causes of thermal burns were hot liquids (63.4%) and flames (36.6%). The highest prevalence of burn injuries occurred in those children in the care of illiterate caregivers (p<0.01). The highest risk environment for burn accidents was identified as the kitchen (p<0.05). Most of the burns (64%) occurred in the children below the age of five years old. This finding was not statistically significant but it is of great clinical importance. Health and safety promotion programmes aimed at carers to minimize the risk of childhood disabilities due to burn injuries are recommended. Caregivers and school children have to be taught to use simple fire prevention procedures to avoid thermal burn injuries. Although the results of this study cannot be generalized, it provides a glimpse of the burn status and causes of thermal burn at BLH. However, in order to get more comprehensive information it is important to obtain information from more hospitals in the country through prospective studies.