Injury registration in a developing country. A study based on patients' records from four hospitals in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Cent Afr J Med. 2001 Aug;47(8):203-9. doi: 10.4314/cajm.v47i8.8617.


Background: A recent study conducted in some parts of Tanzania has revealed that injuries rank as the third major leading cause of death among the adult population only after tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Critical to any injury prevention activities is a reliable surveillance system. Such a system may for instance be based on hospital registration of injuries.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate available hospital records for the purpose of describing the epidemiology of injuries among inpatients in four hospitals in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Methods: The study utilized patients' medical records for the year 1998. The final sample included 1098 cases from four hospitals. Data handling and analysis was performed using statistical software SPSS for windows version 10.0. Cross tabulations with Chi-square testing for independence, t-test for difference between means (independent groups) and one way analysis of variance was used.

Results: The age group 21 to 30 years formed the largest proportion of injury-related admissions. The male to female ratio was 2.3 to 1. The largest categories of injuries were road traffic injuries (43.7%), violence and assaults (23.5%), and falls (13.8%). Burns accounted for 6.5% of the cases. The following variables were routinely recorded in case notes: gender (100%), nature of injury/principal diagnosis (99.6%), body part injured (99.4%), and age (96.4%).

Conclusions: There is a need for improving the way injuries are recorded in hospitals. Hospitals' records could provide a useful tool for monitoring injury preventive activities in developing countries like Tanzania.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medical Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Tanzania / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*