Domestic accidental deaths in the Niger Delta region, Nigeria

  • SD Seleye-Fubara
  • AU Ekere


Background: Domestic accidental deaths constitute a public health burden in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. This study is aimed at highlighting this public health burden.

Objective: This is study is aimed at highlighting this public health burden.

Design: A six year retrospective study using mortuary records.

Setting: University of port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcout, Nigeria.

Patients and Methods: Coroner's forms data were used from University of port HArcout Teaching Hospital anatomical pathology department, which is the foremost health institution in the region serving a core population of about six million people.

Results: Eighty three domestic accidental deaths seen at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria between January 1995 and December 2001 were analysed. The 83 deaths occurred in 63 males and 20 females, giving a ratio of 3:1, between the ages of six months and 86 years. There was a bimodal age distribution, with 20 cases (24.1%) occurring in preschool age children, and 22 cases (26.5%) occurring in the elderly over 70 years. Fifty one deaths (61.4%) occurred in the urban areas, while 32 cases (36.8%) occurred in the rural areas. Seventeen cases (20.5%) occurred from falls from height or same level, thereby, constituting the commonest mechanism of injuries that lead to death in the elderly. In children, the commonest mechanism of injuries leading to death was poisoning. The yearly incidence of these deaths is decreasing with the peak of 26.5% in 1995, and 6.0% in 1999.

Conclusion: Enforceable legislation by government coupled with public education to reduce occurrence should be encouraged. Safety at home must be taken very seriously.

East African Medical Journal Vol.80(12) 2003: 622-626

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eISSN: 0012-835X