Saturday, June 19, 2010
Why Burns Occur in Malawi...
Many people ask me, 'why are these burns happening so frequently in Malawi?' The sad truth is that it is a harsh consequence of living in poverty. According to the World Health Organization, 95% of all burn injuries occur in low income countries. Many Malawians live as farmers, making less than $1 per day. The majority of the population live in mud huts with grass roofs that were originally made over 100 years ago, passed down from generation to generation. To this day only 2% of the population has access to electricity. Families consequently heat and cook by open flame fires. Children will often hover around their mothers, clothes easily catching flames, or small children may be attended to my other children not old enough to have this responsibility. 63% of all burn victims we treat here are less than 6 years old.
Unfortunately, when these burns occur there is rarely a clinician who knows how to treat these injuries. Hence, the need and purpose of our program; to teach local providers on how to care for these patients, giving victims the best chance of survival and quality of life.