Estimating the trend and mechanism of burns patients brought to KATH for the past five years

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Introduction: Burn is traumatic, devastating and its economic and social implications leave much to be desired, coupled with its significant cause of fatality, morbidity and disability. Very little is known about burn injuries at KATH in Ghana and thus epidemiological study and management of burns at KATH is imperative, hence the choice for this study to assess the trend and mechanism of burns at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital –KATH, Ghana for the 5-year period from May 2009 to April 2014. This study specifically has the object of determining the trend of burns, estimating the prevalence rate of burns and measuring the degree and total body surface area (TBSA) of burn victims at KATH. Further, study sought to estimate the survival rate and the main causes of burns presented at the burns unit at KATH. Methods: The study adopted a retrospective approach to collect data from the clinical records of a sample of 300 in-patients folders for the past five years. Data collected was sieved for completeness, coded and input on a software STATA version 12.0 to generate information for analysis. With the help of statistical tables, mainly in frequencies and percentages, and chart produced by the software, data was analyzed quantitatively. Results: Among the main findings from the analysis of data, it was found that 51.3% of the burns victims were males whilst 48.7% were females. Again, children under 5 years sustained the highest burn injuries (41.6%) followed by the ages between 15-44 years representing 35.3% of burn victims. It was again established from the study that most burn incidents occurred between the hours of 2pm-7pm of which most were unintentional or accidental. The prevalent rate of burns among the common trauma cases at KATH stands at 4.2% of which nearly 81% of the injury are 2nd degree burns and about 56% also showed a total body surface area (TBSA) >20%. The study further found a general survival rate of 86% over the 5-year period under review implying a 14% mortality rate. Hot liquids steam and gas were the major cause of burns represented by 53.75% of the burn cases reported followed by a 35% caused by flames (fire). Conclusion: In conclusion, most burns reported at KATH are related to domestic use of thermal materials such as gas, kerosene stoves, coal pots which easily catch flames with little negligence and disregard of fire precautionary measures. The study revealed that domestic related burns mostly occur during the working hours of the day between 2pm and 7pm. Incidentally, this is the period when meals are prepared in many homes rendering women and children more vulnerable to burns. The aged people above 65 years rarely suffer burn injuries but few who encounter burns experience the 2nd degree type and have major burn, perhaps due to the weak nature of their body cells. This may adversely enhance their mortality.Serious and regular public sensitization campaigns on burns and enhanced strategies to build up strong management personnel at the hospital are necessary to help reduce the burn menaceand the resultant high mortality, morbidity and disability from burns.
A thesis submitted to The Department of Health Promotion and Education College of Health Sciences, School of Puplic Health, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Public Health in Health Education and Promotion.