There has been a significant decline in average yearly burn admissions to hospitals over the past decade, according to a new medical study titled “An analysis of burn admissions and evaluation of conservative management techniques” released here over the weekend as part of the 15th World Congress of International Confederation for Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery.

The study has been compiled by Dr. R.B. Ahuja, Head of the Department of Burns, Plastic, Maxillofacial and Micro-vascular Surgery at Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan Hospital and associated Maulana Azad Medical College here. It evaluates epidemiological parameters over a long period of time to help in devising strategies for burn prevention and cost-effective management in developing countries, particularly in India with its huge population.

According to the study, burn injuries are “accidents of poverty” and there is a huge burn load that exists in the developing world: “Burn morbidity is quite comparable to HIV morbidity, at least in India, and incidence of burns automatically decreases with economic prosperity. In India, poorly designed kerosene stoves are still a major reason for accidents a majority of which take place at home making women more prone to burn injuries.”

The study points to a very interesting and negative correlation between burn admissions and the yearly per capita income of a country, since the incidence and profile of burns directly reflects the economic development of a society.

Fire-related incidents are behind most deaths among young women in India, the study notes. The study estimates over 1.63 lakh fire deaths every year in India which is 2 per cent of all deaths in the country. Of these, 1.06 lakh occur among young women; the ratio as compared to young men being 3:1. The data was obtained from the records of 16,762 patients admitted to the burns unit of LNJP Hospital and Maulana Azad Medical College from January 1993 to 2007.

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