Alliance Turns Up The Heat On Burn Prevention Activities
Renowned burn expert Michael Peck, Director of International Outreach and Ambulatory Services for the Arizona Burn Center, Dr. David Meddings (WHO), David Sugerman, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Dr. Henry Falk, consultant, met with the Alliance in May to discuss the priorities for the next phase of the Alliance’s burns-related activities, and to suggest a diverse group of experts who could serve on an official technical steering committee.
Burn injuries contribute to 195,000 deaths annually according to the most recent estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO). While a large proportion of these are thought to be cooking related, these estimates are based on very limited data, with even less data available on the direct causes and risk factors for severe burn injuries.
To address this critical health risk, in August 2012 the Alliance established a 15-member workgroup co-chaired by Dr. David Meddings and Dr. Henry Falk, Senior Consultant to the CDC, with the primary goal of strengthening hospital-based surveillance on the causes and risk factors for severe burns. WHO and a global network of public health experts, including epidemiologists, trauma surgeons, and burn care practitioners has been pilot testing a new Global Burn Registry Form, which can be completed quickly, and characterizes the main risk factors, mechanisms, and risk groups for burn injuries requiring a hospital stay.
The form has now been pilot tested in 46 hospitals within 26 countries. Study results will be presented at the International Society of Burns and Injury meeting later in 2014, and the form will then be available for general use. Work group members are in the process of refining additional surveillance tools to improve data collection, analysis, and reporting capacity, including the development of a tool to be used at the community level.
Improved data on risk factors for severe burns will further inform the development and scaling up of clean and safe cooking technologies. Going forward, prevention initiatives to promote safety and improve access to care, will also need to be addressed to further mitigate burn injuries and promote safer cooking.
Over the next few years, the Alliance will scale its burns-related activities to include the following:
• The development of hospital-based burn registries with data related to causes and risk factors, acute morbidity, and long term disability, and on approaches to centrally assemble data from multiple hospitals;
• The development of survey instruments to assess the incidence of severe burns in community settings, with a focus on urban slums and humanitarian settings;
• Supporting pilot initiatives for cooking-related burns prevention activities.