Risk factors for childhood burn injuries in Kampala.
Mugisha, Okello Joseph
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INTRODUCTION: Childhood injury is now a common phenomenon in both high-income countries and low and middle-income countries. Burn injury is among the common causes of childhood injury and results in morbidity and mortality. In Uganda, childhood burn injuries have been a problem for a long time though not much research has been done on this topic. PROBLEM STATEMENT Children constitute 75% of the burn victims seen in hospitals in and around Kampala. There percent and 5% of all surgical operations done in Mulago hospital and Rubaga hospital respectively are related to burn injuries. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: No studies have been done on risk factors for childhood burn injuries in Uganda. While such studies have been undertaken in other developing countries, most studies done did not use controls to draw valid inferences about the relative importance of risk factors. This study will generate information for planning intervention strategies. OBJECTIVE: To determine risk factors for childhood burn injuries in kampala. METHODOLOGY: The study was carried out in Mulago hospital, Rubaga hospital and St. Francis Nsambya hospital between January and March 2002. An unmatched case control design was used. 142 cases and 142 controls were studied. Cases were children 15 years and below seeking treatment for burn injuries while controls were children 15 years and below seeking treatment for malaria. A consecutive sampling procedure was used to select cases. Simple random sampling was used to select controls for each admitted case while consecutive sampling was used to select controls for cases sampled from the outpatient departments. Data was collected from the participants using structured questionnaire. Home visiting was done to validate the housing characteristics. Data from home visits was collected using questionnaires with questions on only housing characteristics. Data on home visits was collected by observation. Epi Info and SPSS computer packages were used for analysis of data. Estimation of risk was done by estimation of the odds ratios. RESULTS: A Total of 284 children were evaluated. The main risk factors for childhood burn injuries in kampala were, history of a previous burn injury, OR= 2.9, 95% CI= (1.325-6.420), P= 0.008, Cooking on the ground level, OR = 6.47, 95% CI= (2.97-14.08), P=O.OOO. Formal education by the mothers was protective against childhood burns, OR= 0.25, 95% CI= (0.073=0.863), P=0.028. There was an agreement of 81.5% between the answers on housing characteristics obtained through interviews and those obtained by observation through home visits. CONCLUSION: History of a previous burn injury and cooking on the ground level are important risk factors for childhood burn injuries in kampala while formal education by mother/care takers is protective against childhood burn injuries.