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.

The Effect of Smart Scar Care Pad (SSCP) on the Elasticity of Post Burn Hypertrophic Scar (HS)

Ms Walei Zhang1, Prof  Cecilia  Li-Tsang1

1The Hong Kong Polytechnic University , Hung Hom, Kln, Hong Kong


Hypertrophic scars (HS) developed after burn injuries would cause discomfort, joint contracture, deformities resulting disfigurement for burn survivors. Scar elasticity is directly associated with complications leading to dysfunction. Our research team has invented a new padding material, the Smart Scar Care Pad (SSCP), aiming at enhancing the hydration and occlusion effect of HS, at the same time, providing pressure intervention to reduce vascularity of the HS. This pilot study was to investigate the clinical effectiveness of ‘Smart Scar-care pad (SCCP)’.

The study adopted a self-control cohort study design. 30 adults with post burn hypertrophic scar (HS) on limbs were recruited upon their consents. For each subject, two scar sites were selected. One scar site was treated by “Smart Scar-care pad (SCCP)” together with pressure garment as experimental group. Another scar site was prescribed with a form of padding and pressure garment as control group. Assessments were performed before treatment and after 45-day treatment on various parameters, including VSS, Hydration level, Melanin score, Erythema score, Elasticity, Retraction time and thickness, and end-users’ feedbacks.

Our preliminary result has demonstrated its clinical efficacy to improve HS elasticity. The SSCP appeared to show positive effect in management of HS through the occlusion and compression effect, particularly for those scars which are still very active and hypertrophic. Subjects reflected satisfaction towards the maintenance and the quality of ‘SCCP’, especially on its conformability, durability and adhesiveness. A large scale of RCT study would be conducted to verify its clinical efficacy.


Prof. Cecilia W.P. Li-Tsang is specialized in the field of burns and scar management, developmental disabilities and hand rehabilitation. She is an active researcher as well as an expert clinician to manage complex hand, burns and paediatric cases. She is the Executive member of International Federation of Societies of Hand Therapy and the Member of Scar Academy of British Burns Association. She was successfully in bidding more than HK40 million of research funding support and has also published over 100 journal articles.


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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