Epidemiologic shifts for burn injury in Ethiopia from 2001 to 2016: Implications for public health measures

Freda L. Ready, Yohannes D. Gebremedhem, Metesabia Worku, Kajal Mehta, Mekonen Eshte, YPaul L. GoldenMerry, Fiemu E. Nwariaku, Steven E. Wolf, Herb A. Phelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: The last generation has seen Ethiopia, a low income country with a population of 100 million people, undergo a marked increase in urbanization and development. The effects of these demographic changes on the epidemiology of burn risk and thermal injury in Ethiopia are unknown. This gap constitutes a major barrier to the creation of effective burn prevention programs. Methods: Yekatit 12 Hospital in Addis Ababa is the only burn unit in Ethiopia. In this cross sectional retrospective study, we identified and reviewed all admissions due to burn injury at that facility between 1/1/2016 and 12/31/2016. We then compared them to a previously published burn cohort treated at the same facility between 7/1/2001 and 9/31/2002. Chi square was used to compare proportions between the two samples. Continuous covariates are reported as descriptive data due to missing variance data in the 2001–02 publication. Results: There were a total of 121 subjects in the 2001–02 sample and 176 subjects in the 2016 sample. The 2016 sample was found to have a significantly larger proportion of males (57%) as compared to the 2001–02 sample (36%) (p = 0.0003) and a significantly higher proportion of electrical injuries (27%) than the previous cohort (5%) (p < 0.0001). No significant differences were seen in mortality rates between the 2016 and 2001–02 cohorts (8% vs 12%, respectively, p = 0.29) or in the regions of origin (44% outside Addis Ababa vs 54%, p = 0.09) For the 2016 sample, the highest surviving Baux score was 76 while the mean Baux score for survivors was 29.6 ± 20.11. Conclusion: As Ethiopia has become more industrialized over the last 15 years, the demographic pattern of burn injury has changed accordingly as electrical injuries have increased five-fold with males now constituting a majority of burn cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1839-1843
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Burns
  • Epidemiology
  • Ethiopia
  • Global surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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