An exploration of the factors associated with paediatric burn injuries in rural and peri-urban Malawi

Beard, Maria (2018) An exploration of the factors associated with paediatric burn injuries in rural and peri-urban Malawi. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Background: Burn injuries disproportionally affect the world’s poorest regions. However, there is a lack of data from these areas to determine the true extent of this public health problem. Children in Malawi are at high risk of burn injuries and poor health because of the nature of their environment, and the paucity of burn prevention programmes. At present, the research that reflects the factors associated with these injuries has been limited to the interpretation of quantitative, hospital based data, which may provide patterns of burns risks, but does not reflect the context or perception of burn injuries necessary to create culturally appropriate and targeted prevention initiatives. Moreover, while it has been suggested that the use of improved cookstoves (ICS) in these areas might mitigate children’s exposure to burn injuries more research is needed.

Aim: To explore the factors associated with paediatric burn injuries in rural and peri-urban Malawi.

Methods: This study employed a qualitative approach to explore the contextual factors, associated with paediatric burn injuries, across four villages in Malawi. Three of these villages had been previously exposed to an ICS intervention. In addition to conducting observations of household environments, multiple perspectives of burn injuries were sought from 32 parents, 12 health professionals and 6 key stakeholders using semi-structured interviews. Focus groups were conducted with household participants to gain a better understanding of safety in relation to their cooking methods. The data obtained were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: The study revealed a number of environmental and social factors which put children at risk of burn injuries across rural and peri-urban Malawi. Parents are often limited in their ability to provide adequate protection against such injuries because of: a lack of knowledge about injury prevention, a lack of safety equipment, a lack of control to make alterations to their housing and an inability to adequately supervise children. Additionally, health professionals reported that, due to a lack of time and resources, they were unable to consistently provide information to parents and caregivers about preventing burn injuries in the home. Those working with existing ICS initiatives in Malawi revealed that, although kitchen safety is currently discussed as part of organisations’ promotional activities, there is a lack of data measuring the effectiveness of this teaching.

Conclusion: The factors associated with paediatric burn injuries and prevention, both actual and perceptual, are multifaceted and intertwined with the complex nature of the household environment and those who live within it. This study has provided a starting point from which to understand these factors and gives a voice to those affected. Overall the results demonstrate that there is an urgent need to raise an awareness of the burns problem to policy makers, key stakeholders, health professionals and parents, to initiate the development of comprehensive prevention initiatives. Future strategies need to consider the integration of multilevel support to address the challenges faced by families living in rural and peri-urban Malawi.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Clifford, Mike J.
Watson, Michael C.
Keywords: Malawi, Cookstoves, Child Safety, Home Safety, Burns, Burns and fire prevention,
Subjects: R Medicine > RD Surgery
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
Item ID: 49174
Depositing User: Beard, Maria
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2018 04:40
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 17:46

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