First aid practices, beliefs, and sources of information among caregivers regarding paediatric burn injuries in Harare, Zimbabwe: A cross-sectional study|
Chirongoma, Farai; Chengetanai, Samson & Tadyanemhandu, Cathrine
While burns take seconds to occur, the resulting injuries result in pain and undesirable long-term (often lifelong) effects. The study was
carried out to determine the practices, beliefs, and sources of information related to burns and first aid among caregivers of children
who present to hospital with burn injuries in Harare, Zimbabwe.
A cross-sectional study was carried out over a period of 3 months at 2 central hospitals in Harare (Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and
Harare Central Hospital). A questionnaire was administered to the caregivers of children, aged 0 to 60 months and admitted to the burns
wards, to elicit information on the circumstances of the burn injury and the first aid methods which were administered.
Out of the 50 children who were recruited, 54.0% were females and the mean age was 29.5 months (SD = 15.5). As first aid for the burn
injuries that brought these children to hospital, 30 (60.0%) of the caregivers cooled the burn with cold running water. Some caregivers
applied eggs, margarine, or traditional herbs as first aid. Other first aid practices reported by the caregivers included the use of urine
and crushed cockroaches (n = 40; 80.0%), while 20 caregivers (40.0%) used aloe vera gel. About half of the caregivers received first aid
information mainly from family members and very few indicated that the information was obtained from mass media (n = 3; 6.0%).
The first aid measures used by the majority of caregivers were either incomplete or inadequate. Although some caregivers had adequate
knowledge of what to do after an injury, there still was widespread use of alternative therapies in burn management.