Epidemiology of paediatric poisoning reporting to a tertiary hospital in Ghana
Background. Childhood poisoning is an important cause of morbidity in both developed and developing countries. Epidemiological studies on accidental poisoning in children show a consistent pattern regarding age and gender. Childhood poisoning is predominant in children <6 years of age and has a male preponderance, as boys are more active with a drive to explore the environment.
Objective. To document the epidemiology of home poisonings in Kumasi and its environs.
Methods. We conducted a retrospective study from January 2007 to January 2012 at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, a tertiary hospital in Ghana.
Results. Poisoning is a significant health problem in the study area. A total of 253 children reported to the hospital with poisoning over the 61-month period, with an average of four cases per month. The male to female ratio was 1.58:1. The median age of the children was 24 months (interquartile range 24 - 48 months). Kerosene was the leading cause of poisoning (39.5%).
Conclusion. Paediatric poisoning is a major health hazard in children living in Kumasi and its environs. This can possibly be attributed to a lack of adequate supervision of children and poor storage of harmful substances in homes. Multidisciplinary interventions are needed to reduce the occurrence of the condition in the population at risk.