In Uganda, burn injuries account for 11% of all childhood injuries.
The Burn Unit in Kampala admits about 350-400 severe burns
every year, while many burns are treated in smaller hospitals.
According to the WHO, nearly 11 million people worldwide were
burned severely enough to require medical attention yearly.
Worldwide, the rate of child burn deaths is 2.5 per 100,000 across
103 countries, with the highest rate in Sub-Saharan Africa (4.5 per
100,000). Over the past few decades, burn-related mortality in
high-income countries has decreased.
However, burns still account for an estimated 180,000 deaths
annually and are among the leading causes of disability-adjusted
life years in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), where
approximately 90% of burn injuries occur.
In Uganda children aged 10 years and below represent over 80% of
the burn patient population, with children younger than 5 years of
age at the highest risk.
With adequate primary burn care, many sequelae can be
Scalds appear to be the most common type of injury and affect
mainly boys. Adults sustain mostly flame burns. The most
commonly affected areas for all ages are the upper extremities
and trunk. Overall, most burn injuries are sustained in the home,
particularly in the kitchen.
While most burns are unintentional, non-accidental injury is not
uncommon. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to
Burn survivors have the burden of temporary or permanent
disability and economic hardship, for both the victim and the
family. A good understanding of the epidemiology is essential to
direct burn prevention programs