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NCJ Number: 156138 Find in a Library
Title: Pattern of Intentional Burns to Children in Ghana
Journal: Child Abuse and Neglect  Volume:19  Issue:7  Dated:(July 1995)  Pages:837-841
Author(s): S N Forjuoh
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Rockefeller Foundation
New York, NY 10036
Grant Number: RF91037
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper reports on an investigation into the existence of intentional burns to children in the Ashanti Region of Ghana and their pattern.
Abstract: Between July and December 1992, a Childhood Burn Survey was conducted in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, using a multistage, multisite cluster sampling technique to assist in future preventive efforts. First, there was a random selection of 50 from a total of 2,177 enumeration areas in the region. Several households were then systematically selected from the chosen enumeration areas. Finally, all children aged 0-5 years present in these households were listed. A total of 955 children were identified with visible scars as evidence of a previous burn. Mothers or regular caretakers of 630 children were successfully interviewed with a standard questionnaire in a followup survey by trained medical student interviewers. The interviewers also confirmed the presence or absence of scars reported by mothers by asking permission of the mother to unclothe the child when necessary. The survey found that of 650 childhood burns, 35 (5.4 percent) were purposefully inflicted. The perpetrators were mostly friends (43 percent) and siblings (37 percent) of the victims, and traditional healers (6 percent) who inflicted these burns to children who were comatose after convulsions. Intentional burns were more likely to be inflicted by flame and contact with a hot object rather than through scalding, the most common cause of burns in this region. Other patterns of intentional burns included the absence of any adult at the time of the burn, burns covering greater than 3-5 percent of body surface area, and increased rate of wound infection. These findings contrast with the pattern of intentional burns seen in other countries, notably developed ones. Even though these inflicted burns were minor, it is important that doctors working in this setting become aware of their presence and that traditional healers and the general public be educated about the appropriate treatment for childhood convulsions. 2 tables and 6 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Child abuse investigations; Child burn victims; Crime in foreign countries; Ghana
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