Burns and Inequity: a Public Health Approach

Associate Professor Kate McIntyre

Associate Professor in Public Health and Specialist Medical Advisor in Public Health Services, DHHS Tasmania.

School of Medicine | College of Health & Medicine College of Health and Medicine

University of Tasmania


Burns and burns related injuries are a major public health problem and they are preventable. Non-fatal burns are a leading cause of morbidity, including prolonged hospitalization, disfigurement and disability.  Despite their importance there is a surprising lack of data describing the epidemiology of burn related injuries, especially in relation to socioeconomic status. In many high-income countries, burn death rates have been decreasing, and the rate of child deaths from burns is currently over 7 times higher in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. Australia and New Zealand have made great progress in reducing mortality and morbidity due to burns however it is not clear whether similar progress has been made across all groups in society. We can approach equity and burn prevention using frameworks. The Vic Health Framework for Health Equity was published in October 2013 as a conceptual and planning tool to guide policy and action on the social determinants of inequalities. The Framework identifies 3 layers of influence and entry points for action with regards to the social determinants of health inequities. These three layers of influence are socioeconomic, political and cultural context; daily living conditions and individual health related knowledge, attitudes and behaviours. This presentation uses these frameworks to explore the issues around equity and burn prevention.


ANZBA is a not for profit organisation and the peak body for health professionals responsible for the care of the burn injured in Australia and New Zealand. ANZBA encourages higher standards of care through education, performance monitoring and research.

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