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WHO launches the world's first standardized platform for data collection about burns

World Health Organization (WHO) has launched the Global Burn Registry - the first ever global platform allowing for standardized data collection from burn victims. This new resource will provide health facilities with a clear picture of the factors most likely to contribute to burns and the populations at greatest risk in their settings, with a view to prioritizing prevention programmes.

Burns account for an estimated 180 000 deaths per year, the vast majority of which occur in low- and middle-income countries, mainly in homes and workplaces. Non-fatal burn injuries are a leading cause of morbidity, leading to prolonged hospitalization, disfigurement and disability, often with resulting stigma and rejection.

High-income countries have made considerable progress in lowering rates of deaths from burns. This has been achieved through a combination of proven prevention strategies ─ among them promoting safer cook stoves; advocating for the use of smoke detectors, fire sprinklers, and fire-escape systems in homes; and lowering the temperature in hot water taps ─ as well as through improvements in the care and treatment of burn victims. Most of these advances have been unevenly applied in low- and middle-income countries.

Further hindering progress is the fact that data collection for burn injuries is weak, making it difficult for countries to rationally prioritize prevention strategies. WHO and a global network of experts therefore undertook a collaborative effort to address this, with the aim of developing this simple data collection tool. The resulting Global Burn Registry has been finalized following extensive pilot testing which took place in 60 health facilities across 30 countries.

The Global Burn Registry is based on an easy-to-use data collection form that is used for patients with burns who are admitted to a health facility. It takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. Data can be accessed and exported through the online registry interface maintained by WHO. The data collection form, as well as the online interface, are available in English, French and Spanish.

The online interface allows users to view data from their health facility as well as all other participating health facilities. Data from the Global Burn Registry (which are stripped of reference to information which allows identification of individual patients) are publicly available, and can be accessed and exported for further analysis by researchers and policy- makers, among others. The online platform also provides extensive data visualization and filtering capabilities.

"The Global Burn Registry provides a great step forward for the burns prevention and care field," notes Dr Etienne Krug, WHO Director of the Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention. "We expect that this registry will provide the basis for an enhanced understanding of the epidemiology of this important public health problem, giving countries the vital information they need to save lives."

RELATED LINKS:

WHO Global Burn Registry
http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/burns/gbr

Article in Injury Prevention
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4853523/

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