African Journal of Paediatric Surgery

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Epidemiology of paediatric injury in low income environment: Value of hospital based data prior to the institution of a formal registration system

A Chichom-Mefire, M Fokou


Background: Little attention is generally paid to paediatric injuries, especially in low income settings. The aim of this study is to provide an overview of the epidemiology of hospital-based paediatric injuries in a semi-urban area in Cameroon prior to the initiation of a formal registration system.

Patients and Methods: A sixteen items data collection sheet derived from a newly instituted trauma registry is used to retrospectively gather hospital-based basic information about epidemiology of injuries in patients aged 15 years or below in a low income setting.

Results: Two hundred and seventy seven cases representing 16% of all injury cases could be analysed. The frequency of injuries signifi cantly increased with age with a peak between 11 and 15 years (P < 0.001). Children in school playgrounds carried a signifi cantly higher risk of sustaining an injury (P < 0.001). Falls and interpersonal violence were the most frequent mechanisms. The face and locomotor systems were the most commonly involved. More than 60% of patients were discharged back home.

Conclusions: The data from the present registration system seem to indicate a higher injury rate in pre-adolescent children and in the school playground. The institution of a formal registration system is likely to improve the quality of data recording system.

Key words: Epidemiology, hospital-based, low income setting, paediatric injury, registration system
AJOL African Journals Online