500 children treated for burns – Kenyatta National Hospital

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 00:00 |
Fire Safety advocate Jose Njuki (left) with Lt Cyrus Kalemungorok of November Rapid Response Team demonstrate how to handle gas cylinder explosions during the National Fire Prevention Week at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

More than 500 children below the age of five suffered burns between June 2020 and July this year.

Kenyatta National Hospital revealed yesterday that out of 698 burn cases admitted at the facility, 593 (85 per cent), were children below the age of five who sustained injuries from house fires, some from cooking gas explosions and electric faults.

Statistics also revealed that most of the patients were from Nairobi and Kiambu counties.

Speaking during celebrations to mark Fire Safety and Burns Awareness Week, Kenyatta Prime Care Centre director Dr John Ngugi said six informal settlements in Nairobi are leading with burn injury survivors.

“LPG fire incidents are on the rise  as well as gender-based                            violence-related burns.

72 per cent of all burns were from Nairobi mainly from Kibra, Kayole, Mathare, Kawangware, Mukuru and Pipeline areas,” he added.

He highlighted that gender stereotypes are often used to justify violence.

“Gender-based violence is recognised as an international public health and human rights issue but also a key driver of extreme poverty as burn treatments are lengthy and expensive,” he stated.

According to Ngugi, women suffer from intentional burns delivered as punishment by their husbands or partners and have a harder time receiving treatment than men as women’s health is often undervalued.

Nairobi County Fire brigadier Stephen Muia attributed fire incidents in informal settlements to lack of awareness on how to contain fire. 

“Most incidents happen at home and, therefore, there is need for awareness campaigns on basic steps to put out fire,” he said.

Awareness campaigns

Kenya Power Pension Fund general manager Joseph Mitito said despite gas explosion being a leading cause of fire incidents in the informal settlements, it is important to look at preventable fire incidences such as GBV burns.

“Employing strategies that address the hazards for specific burn injuries and providing the necessary education to the vulnerable populations can help solve the problem,” he said.

The Fire Safety and Burns Awareness Week is an annual public sensitisation campaign aimed at raising awareness on fire safety and the management of burn injuries. 

This year, the event will focus on gender-based violence related burns and gas explosions which were on the increase during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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