Childhood burns in Ghana: epidemiological characteristics and home-based treatment

S. N. Forjuoh, B. Guyer, G. S. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objectives of this research were to study the epidemiological characteristics and home-based treatment of childhood burns in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Children aged 0-5 years with a burn history were identified through a community-based, multisite survey. A standard questionnaire was administered to mothers of 630 of these children to elicit information on their sociodemographic characteristics and the circumstances of the burn event. Ninety-two per cent of the burns occurred in the home, particularly in the kitchen (51 per cent) and the house yard (36 per cent), with most of them happening in the late morning and around the evening meal. The main causes of the burns were scalds (45 per cent), contact with a hot object (34 per cent) and flame (20 per cent). 'Cool' water was applied to the burned area in 30 per cent of cases. Otherwise, treatment with a traditional preparation was the most popular first-aid choice. Since a considerable proportion of burns happened between meals when children 'play with fire' in the house yard, the provision of alternative play activities and community play areas may reduce the incidence of burns to these children. Secondly, we recommend that education on first-aid management of burns be intensified, with special emphasis on alternatives to the use of traditional preparations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-28
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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