Human negligence has been attributed to cause 90pc of all reported fires. As the country marked the Fire Safety and Burns Awareness week, LPG Gas fire incidents have been on the increase as well as gender violence related burns.
Majority of the patients were from Nairobi and Kiambu counties with 72pc of all burns coming from Nairobi mainly from Kibra, Kayole, Mathare, Kawangware, Mukuru and Pipeline.
According to the chairman of Burn Society of Kenya, the Ministry of Health reported 213,770 burn cases in 2020 compared to 248,962 reported cases in 2019 and 185,539 reported cases in 2018.
This showed a significant decrease in reported cased in 2020 at the peak of the pandemic due to the reluctance for casualties to visit hospitals.
“Most common causes of fires at the household level caused by human errors include but are not limited to drunkenness, domestic violence, leaving cook stoves unattended, electrical overloads and illegal electrical installations as well as leaving flammable items near a fire” says chairman of Burn Society of Kenya, Dr. Shaban Saidi,
Ground level cooking is a major cause of burn injuries for under 5 year-old children who often get hot water or tea burns while playing near the fire.
Concerns have been raised over gender based violence (GBV) which has been identified as a key driver of extreme poverty making burn treatments for women who are mostly the victims lengthy and expensive.
Statistics show 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.
Joseph Mitito, Acting General Manager- Investment at Kenya Power Pension Fund says its unfortunate that GVB which is one of the most pervasive violations of human rights in the world is the least persecuted crimes.
“Lockdowns and other restrictions made it difficult for survivors to report abuse or seek help and for relevant service providers to respond efficiently. GBV burns are preventable. Let us work towards reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we cannot afford to neglect the issue of GBV, otherwise we will soon have another looming crisis.
The awareness campaign will run from 20th to 24th September 2021 and is themed “Zingatia Usalama wa Jamii” and will be focusing on gender violence related burns and reducing gas explosions.
Burns Society of Kenya and the various stakeholders will visit some of the major informal settlements in Nairobi and Kisumu County to sensitise the public on fire prevention safety tips at home.
The government has committed funds to hasten the completion of the new state of the art burns centre which will see improved care to burns patients with reduced mortality and both short and long-term complications.
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