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A descriptive, cross-sectional analysis of occupational upper limb injuries at a tertiary trauma centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Samih A. Issa
Robert I. Mhina


[Accepted Research Article]

Background: The rise of occupational traumatic upper limb injuries, especially in the developing world, has largely been attributed to industrialisation. Inadequate occupational injury reporting systems and occupational health policies in the sub-Saharan region have resulted in limited research and publication on occupational traumatic upper limb injuries. The primary aim of this study was to assess the pattern and presentation of occupational traumatic upper limb injuries that were treated at Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute, a tertiary hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Methods: This was a descriptive, cross-sectional, hospital-based study. All patients with occupational traumatic upper limb injuries were included. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire. Univariate analysis was used for categorical variables. Mean, range and standard deviation was used to analyse continuous variables. Statistical significance was determined in all relevant associations.

Results: A total of 74 patients were enrolled of whom 94.5% were males. The prevalence of occupational traumatic upper limb injuries in trauma patients was 2.9%. The mean age was 31.2 years. A large proportion (41.9%) of the patients were transport and distribution workers. Motor vehicle crashes were the most common cause of injury (40.5%) followed by heavy machinery injury (25.6%). The hand was the most common site of injury (47.3%). Fractures were the most observed injuries (85.1% of the patients). Heavy machine operators & assemblers were more likely to obtain high grade soft tissue injuries (p<0.0001) and suffer traumatic amputations (p<0.0001).

Conclusions: Males of productive age group were more affected by occupational injuries, many of whom were in the transportation industry. Heavy machine operators were more susceptible to severe soft tissue injuries with limb loss and thus calling for interventions from occupational safety and health authorities.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2073-9990
print ISSN: 1024-297X