n South African Medical Journal - The management of burns begins at home : editorial

Volume 105, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Burn injuries remain a significant cause of trauma, especially in low- to middle-income countries. The start point for reducing burn injuries lies in prevention, and education on risk factors for burn injuries begins in peoples' homes. The World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with various burns societies has prioritised prevention of burns and support for burns control measures. Fire-related burns are responsible for an estimated mortality rate of 6.1/100 000 population per year in Africa, much higher than the 1.0/100 000 in high-income countries. Worldwide, burns account for 10 million disability-adjusted life years. The WHO and burns organisations are aware that in low-income countries, rural and poor urban communities, lacking access to electricity, face a mix of risk factors such as ground-level cooking pots, open wood fires, candles and paraffin (kerosene) stoves of questionable safety. Efforts have been made to introduce safer paraffin lamps into South Africa (SA) in the hope that the number of burn injuries will be reduced.

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