Burn management capacity in low and middle-income countries: A systematic review of 458 hospitals across 14 countries

Shailvi Gupta, Evan G. Wong, Umbareen Mahmood, Anthony G. Charles, Benedict C. Nwomeh, Adam L. Kushner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Importance: More than 90% of thermal injury-related deaths occur in low-resource settings. While baseline assessment of burn management capabilities is necessary to guide capacity building strategies, limited data exist from low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Objective: The objective of our review is to assess burn management capacity in LMICs. Evidence review: A PubMed literature review was performed based on studies assessing baseline surgical capacity in individual LMICs. Seven criteria were used to assess burn management capabilities: presence of surgeon, presence of anesthesiologist, basic resuscitation capabilities, acute burn management, management of burn complications, endotracheal intubation and skin grafts. Findings: Fourteen studies were reviewed using data from 458 hospitals in fourteen countries. Of these, 82.3% (284/345) of hospitals had the capacity to provide basic resuscitation and 84.9% (275/324) were capable of providing acute burn management. Endotracheal intubation was only available at 38.3% (51/133) of hospitals. Moreover, only 35.6% (111/312) and 37.9% (120/317) of hospitals were able to provide skin grafts and treat burn complications, respectively. Conclusion: Many hospitals in LMICs are capable of initial burn management and basic resuscitation. However, deficiencies still exist in the capacity to systematically provide advanced burn care. Efforts should be made to better document resources in order to guide burn management resource allocation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1070-1073
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Burns
  • Countries
  • Global surgery
  • Low and middle income
  • Surgical capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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