An Intervention to Reduce Kerosene-Related Burns and Poisonings in Low-Income South African Communities

Academic Article


  • Objective: Unintentional injury rates in low- and middle-income countries are up to 50 times higher than high-income nations. In South Africa, kerosene (paraffin) is a leading cause of poisoning and burns, particularly in low-income communities where it serves as a primary fuel for light, cooking, and heating. This study tested a community-based intervention to reduce kerosene-related injury risk. The intervention used a train-the-trainers model, whereby expert trainers train local paraprofessionals, who in turn deliver educational materials to community residents. The intervention was theory-driven, pragmatically motivated, and culturally sensitive. Design: Prospective quasi-experimental intervention design with nonequivalent case versus control groups. Main Outcome Measures: Three primary outcome measures were considered: self-reported knowledge of kerosene safety, observed practice of safe kerosene use, and self-reported recognition of risk for kerosene-related injury. Results: ANOVA models suggest a large and significant increase in self-reported kerosene-related knowledge in the intervention community compared to the control community. There were smaller, but statistically significant changes, in kerosene-related safety practices and recognition of kerosene injury risk in the intervention community compared to the control community. Conclusion: The intervention was successful. A train-the-trainers model might be an effective educational tool to reduce kerosene-related injury risk in low-income communities within low- and middle-income countries. © 2009 American Psychological Association.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Schwebel DC; Swart D; Simpson J; Hui SKA; Hobe P
  • Start Page

  • 493
  • End Page

  • 500
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 4