Purpose: Burns remain disproportionately prevalent in developing countries. This study aims to describe the epidemiology of burns in Sierra Leone to serve as a baseline for future programs. Methods: A cluster randomized, cross-sectional, countrywide survey was conducted in 2012 in Sierra Leone. With a standardized questionnaire demographics and deaths during the previous 12 months of household members were assessed with the household representative. Thereafter, 2 randomly selected household members were interviewed, elucidating whether participants had ever had a burn in six body regions and determining burn mechanisms and patterns of health care seeking behavior. Results: This study included 1843 households and 3645 individuals. 3.98% (145/3645) of individuals reported at least one burn-injury. The highest proportions of burns were reported in the age groups 0-4 years old (23/426, 5.4%) and 5-14 years old (37/887, 4.17%). The majority of burns (129/145, 89.0%) were caused by a hot liquid/object and the upper, extremities were the most commonly burned body regions, with 36% (53/145) of cases. 21% (30/145) of individuals with burns sought care from a traditional healer. Conclusions: Burns are highly prevalent in Sierra Leone. Further research and resources should be allocated to the care and prevention of thermal injuries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine