Burns: The epidemiological pattern, risk and safety awareness at Kenyatta national hospital, Nairobi

  • S Ndiritu
  • ZIWW Ngum
  • O Nyaim


Background: Many burns are preventable but there is no published local prospective data on the epidemiological pattern of burns that would form the basis of care and formulation of burn prevention strategies.

Objectives: To determine the epidemiological pattern of burns and assess the awareness of burn risk and preventive measures among patients admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) with burns.

Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Kenyatta National Hospital. Patients: One hundred and nine consecutive burn patients admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Results: The mean age was 14.4 years (median 7.0, range 0.2–66 years). Mean total body surface area burned (TBSA) was 22.3% (median 13.0, range 1-95%). Children under five years were 48.6% with more scalds compared to adults. Open flames burns, involvement of accelerants and assault were prominent among adults. Education level above primary school was associated with higher risk awareness compared with primary level education or below.

Conclusion: The pattern of burns noted resembles other reported series but the role of accelerants and assault appears enhanced in this study. Public education campaigns aimed at burns reduction could be tailored to the educational level of target population.

The East African Medical Journal Vol. 83(8) 2006: 455-460

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eISSN: 0012-835X