Violence and Alcohol: A Study of Injury Presentations to Emergency Departments in Eldoret, Kenya

  • W Odero School of Public Health, Moi University
  • D Ayuku Department of Behavioural Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Moi University


The objective of this study was to estimate the extent of alcoholrelatedness in injury patients, with special reference to interpersonal violence. A cross-sectional hospital-based descriptive study was undertaken in Eldoret, Kenya, over a period of six months. Demographic and injury circumstances data were collected on trauma patients consecutively presenting to hospitals. Alcohol consumption was assessed by either blood analysis or breath test, using a Lion Alcolmeter-SD2, in patients aged 16 years and above who arrived within an interval of 10 hours from the time of injury. Of the 778 subjects evaluated for alcohol, 31.1% were positive (BAC >0.05 g/100ml). A greater proportion of assaulted patients (42.5%) tested positive for alcohol than those with road traffic injuries (23.3%) and falls (17.9%). Nearly a third of assaulted patients were intoxicated (BAC=>0.5g/100ml). Males were twice as likely as females to have been drinking prior to injury (OR=1.8; CI, 1.2-2.6). Young adults of ages 30-39 years were three times as likely to be involved in alcohol-related violence than adolescents aged 16-19 years (OR=3.16, p=0.005). Most alcohol-related injuries occurred at night and over weekends. Alcohol is an important, but poorly documented factor contributing to violence that results in injuries for which patients seek medical treatment in hospitals. Hospitals\' emergency departments clearly present opportunities for objective assessments of the role of alcohol, identifying high-risk groups, and for implementing interventions for reducing alcohol abuse. Routine testing of trauma patients for alcohol consumption should be considered for introduction into Kenyan hospitals.

African Safety Promotion Vol.1(2) 2002: 38-42

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eISSN: 1728-774X