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Port Harcourt Medical Journal

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Arrow injuries in North Eastern Nigeria

HU Na'Aya, UE Eni, AG Madziga, YD Kwari

Abstract


Background: Arrow injuries are common presentation at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Nguru, North East Nigeria. The injuries are mostly unreported and there is neither a policy nor an action plan to curb their incidence
Aim: To establish an accurate data base for this clinical entity in this part of Nigeria and suggest ways to curb it.
Methods: A prospective study of all patients presenting with arrow shot injuries at FMC, Nguru, from January 2007 to June 2009. The age, gender, tribe, occupation, motive of assault, perpetrator information, part of body injured, treatment given and outcome were collected in a proforma.  The data was analyzed using Microsoft Excel.
Results: All 57 patients seen were males. Their ages ranged from 13 to 60 years, with the mean age of 32.9±12.2years. The peak age incidence was 21-30years, accounting for 21cases (36.8%). Fighting between herdsmen and farmers over grazing land was the most common cause of arrow shot injuries, accounting for 25 cases (43.9%), followed by armed banditry with 17 cases (29.8%). Fighting over women was the cause in 10 cases (17.5%). Most of the patients had high Revised Trauma Score. Resuscitative and surgical procedures carried out resulted in recovery of 55 patients. Two patients with the highest number of arrow shots (11 and 4 each) and low Revised Trauma Score of  2 and 4 respectively, died pre-operatively. 
Conclusion: The rate of arrow shot assault injuries in the North East of Nigeria remains  high with its attendant morbidity and mortality. It stems mainly from interpersonal conflicts between herdsmen and farmers over grazing land. Mapping out of grazing lands away from farm lands, enlightenment campaigns, improvement of socio-economic conditions as well as enforced legislative control on the use of bow and arrow will go a long way to reduce the incidence of arrow shot injuries in the region. 



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