Economic consequences of injury and resulting family coping strategies in Ghana

Accid Anal Prev. 2003 Jan;35(1):81-90. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(01)00092-6.


The toll of human suffering from illness and injury is usually measured by mortality and disability rates. Economic consequences, such as treatment costs and lost productivity, are often considered as well. Lately, increasing attention has been paid to the economic effects of illness on a household level. In this study, we sought to assess the economic consequences of injuries in Ghana by looking at the effects on households and the coping mechanisms these households employed. Using cluster sampling and household interviews, we surveyed 21,105 persons living in 431 urban and rural sites. We sought information on any injury that occurred to a household member during the prior year and that resulted in one or more days of disability time.A total of 1609 injuries were reported for the prior year. Treatment costs and disability days were higher in the urban area than in the rural. Coping strategies were different between the two areas. Rural households were more likely to utilize intra-family labor reallocation (90%) than were urban households (75%). Rural households were also more likely to borrow money (24%) than were urban (19%). Households in both areas were equally likely to sell belongings, although the nature of the belongings sold were different. Although injuries in the urban area had more severe primary effects (treatment cost and disability time), the ultimate effect on rural households appeared more severe. A greater percentage of rural households (28%) reported a decline in food consumption than did urban households (19%). These findings result in several policy implications, including measures that could be used to assist family coping strategies and measures directed toward injuries themselves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Eating
  • Efficiency
  • Employment
  • Family Characteristics
  • Family Health*
  • Financing, Personal*
  • Ghana / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Rural Population
  • Urban Population
  • Wounds and Injuries / economics*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality